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WORLD CUP - GROUP C: Colombia commence cup campaign with comfortable conquer of Greece

Colombia have defeated Greece 3-0 in their opening Group C fixture of the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

An impressive Los Cafeteros outfit, without injured star Radamel Falcao, continued the perfect record for South American nations at this World Cup by scoring once in the first half and twice in the second, including an injury-time strike from James Rodriguez.

The opening goal came inside five minutes when Juan Guillermo Cuadrado produced some nifty footwork to dance past his marker down the right before delivering a dangerous ball across the box.

It ended with Pablo Armero's fairly tame effort which Kostas Manolas failed to keep out, only to see his attempted clearance trickle over the line past a scampering Orestis Karnezis.

Colombia were two to the good just before the hour-mark when Teofilo Gutierrez was on-hand to stab home Abel Aguilar's glancing header from close range following a corner.

And it got even better for Jose Pekerman's men three minutes into stoppage time when Monaco ace Rodriguez side-footed past a desperate Karnezis after receiving a neat backheel from Cuadrado.

Greece were not without their own chances, however, as they almost hit back immediately after the first goal when Panagiotis Kone received a pass from Georgios Samaras on the right side before firing just wide of Ospina's left post.

The Greeks managed to work their way back into proceedings after conceding early. Vasilis Torosidis' header from Jose Holebas' free-kick was unlucky not to hit the target which was a huge scare for the Colombians.

Late in the first half, Ospina produced a world class save to deny Kone's curling effort from the top of the 'D' prior to Rodriguez testing Karnezis with a well-hit attempt from inside the area.

In the 63rd minute, an unmarked Theofanis Gekas had a stunning chance to pull one back for Greece but managed to thunder his header into the crossbar from point blank range.

Fernando Santos' side continued to search for an elusive reply but Colombia were able to keep them at bay with resolute defending while still surging forward in the hunt for a third.

Torosidis then had a shout for a penalty when he was felled in the area before Georgios Samaras tried his luck from outside the area with a neatly placed low left-footed shot which ended slightly wide of Ospina's right post.

The sting was well out of the match in the final five or so minutes as Colombia continued to deny the forward forays of the Greeks but there was still time for Rodriguez to get his name on the scoresheet in the dying moments down the other end.

Greece will now look to their June 19 meeting with Japan in order to get their campaign back on track while La Tri get set to meet Ivory Coast on the same day.

2014 FIFA World Cup - Group C

Colombia: 3 (Pablo Armero 5', Teofilo Gutierrez 58', James Rodriguez 90+3') Greece: 0

Estadio Mineirao, Belo Horizonte - 57,174

Yellow cards:COL - Carlos Sanchez 26' GRE - Sokratis Papastathopoulos 53', Dimitrios Salpingidis 55'

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Andrew Slevison
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Andrew Slevison

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