Colombia beat Greece 3-0 in the cafeteros’ opening match at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
The party started well before the game did for Colombia. The Brazilian host city of Belo Horizonte might as well have been Colombia’s coastal Barranquilla, for all the yellow shirts decorating the stadium.
The goals did not delay, either. Pablo Armero opened the scoring against Greece in the 5’ minute for “Los Cafeteros.”
Juan Guillermo Cuadrado brought down a long ball on the right side just in front of the touchline and went to work. He faked a right-footed cross and pulled back, laying a ball across the box for James Rodriguez, who dummied.
The ball squirted through to left wingback Pablo Armero, who arrived charging out of the defense. Armero took it one-touch on his right foot, sending a low deflected shot past the Greek keeper for the first tally of the game.
The rest of the first half saw play swing back-and-forth, with neither team finding clear chances until Greece launched in a lazer in the 45’ minute off a disrupted cross, which Colombian keeper David Ospina sent wide.
Colombia clearly controlled the game from the onset, but the early burst subsided, and the teams went into half with the score 1-0.
The second half started much as the first half had ended, with the Colombian defense holding up against a disorganized Greek attack.
Then in the 58’, Cuadrado played a quick free kick into the feet of James Rodriquez who, standing at the right corner of the box, faked to his left and attempted to turn right, earning himself a corner on the deflection. Rodriguez whipped in a low cross to the near post on a designed play off the corner, and Abel Aguilar volleyed to the six-yard box, where a trailing Teofilo Gutierrez got the tap-in for the second score.
Greece’s best chance of the game came off of another scramble in the Colombian box, which fell to the Greek striker, who sent a scorching header off of the top post.
Greece would not trouble the Colombian defense again, and after two substitutions from head coach Jose Nestor Pekerman, Colombia would see a third goal into the net in stoppage time.
The impetus came, again, from Cuadrado, who had an excellent game combining up the right side. Cuadrado came flying into the box and lost the ball, but sent a neat back-heel flick to James Rodriguez on the rebound.
James, marked at the top of the box, opened his feet and placed the final goal of the game into the left side netting.
After 16 years of waiting, Colombia came out with a strong win against a Greek side that promised to do everything possible to disrupt a potent Cafeteros’ offense.