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Colombia beats Greece 3-0 in Group C opener

: A supporter of the Colombian national football team kisses a mockup of the trophy prior to a Group C football match between Colombia and Greece at the Mineirao Arena in Belo Horizonte.
Colombia marked their return to the World Cup after a 16-year absence with an attacking display that earned a 3-0 victory over Greece today, and the early initiative in what looks to be a really tight Group C.

The South Americans went ahead after five minutes when great work by Juan Cuadrado set up Pablo Armero. Teófilo Gutiérrez poked in the second after 58 minutes and James Rodríguez drove in a left foot effort in stoppage time at the end of another game full of high-paced action.

Colombia will now fancy their chances of topping a group that also contains Japan and Ivory Coast, who meet in Recife later today.


Greece, who 10 years ago staged a major upset by becoming European champions, have forged a reputation as a hard-working defensive team, conceding just four goals in their 10 qualifiers.

"Nothing but disappointment"

For 64-year-old Colombia coach Jose Pekerman any result other than victory would be a disappointment and he will be banking on his European mercenaries to deliver, with 15 of his 23 players plying their trade across the Atlantic.

"Colombia cannot simply change its playing style," captain Mario Yepes told reporters. "Throughout the qualifiers we relied on possession of the ball and that is what makes us strong."

That possession game includes attacking full-backs and the ability to launch rapid counter-attacks.

"Sometimes, in some games, it is normal that it does not work, but we will try to do it, " said the defender nicknamed 'Super Mario', who plays for Italy's Atalanta.

"The idea is that Colombia plays the same way even though the names may change. We want to have the ball to play our flowing game."

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Tags:  Colombia  Greece  World Cup  





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