Live Commentary: Colombia 3-0 Greece - as it happened

Live Commentary: Colombia 3-0 Greece - as it happened
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Relive with Sports Mole all the action from the World Cup Group C clash between Colombia and Greece.

Colombia and Greece got their World Cup campaigns underway on Saturday in their Group C opener at the Estadio Mineirao.

Both teams were entering the tournament in good form and were looking to get off to the perfect start on day three of the competition.

However, it was Colombia who took the game by the scruff of the neck as they went ahead through Pablo Armero in the fifth minute, while Teofilo Gutierrez and James Rodriguez added goals in the second half to hand Jose Pekerman's side a comfortable win.

Read our commentary below to see how all the action unfolded.


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4pmGood afternoon and welcome to the live commentary of the World Cup Group C clash between Colombia and Greece.

4.01pmThe waiting is final over for these teams today as they get their campaigns underway. Both sides come into the tournament in decent form and will be looking to make that count this afternoon and beyond.

4.02pmColombia come into the tournament without star striker Rademel Falcao who sustained ligament damage for AS Monaco earlier this year and has been unable to recover in time to participate in Brazil. He was Jose Pekerman's side's leading scoring during qualifying with nine goals, so he is a big miss for them in the competition.

4.03pmHowever, his absence gives a chance for the other strikers in Colombia's squad to shine. Jackson Martinez had a fine season for Porto as he notched 20 goals in the Portuguese Liga in just 30 appearances for his side. Add to that two goals in the Champions League and he looks primed to take over the mantle from Falcao for the tournament. He hasn't always flourished at international level and didn't score during qualifying, with his last international goal coming last February. So he has an excellent chance to end that poor record in Brazil.

4.06pmColombia also have an abundance of other quality options and one of the most exciting players to watch in the tournament will be James Rodriguez. He flourished in Ligue 1 last season for AS Monaco as he led the league in assists with 12, but also bagged nine goals in his 34 games following his big-money move from Porto last summer. The 22-year-old was also in fine form during qualifying as he notched three goals helping his side finish second just behind Argentina in their group. He will be playing just off the front man in the tournament and it will be interesting to see how he can affect the game at the highest level.

4.10pmOne name that could fly under the radar for Jose Pekerman's side is Teofilo Gutierrez. The 29-year-old notched six goals during qualifying that was crucial to his team's progression to the finals in Brazil. He has a reputation of allowing the more creative players to flourish around him with good link-up play, but also has good predatory instincts in and around the box. Guiterrez notched seven goals for River Plate last season in his first year at the club, which was enough to be their second top scorer. He could be one to watch this afternoon.

4.15pmDefensively for Colombia look no further than 38-year-old centre-back Mario Yepes. He has a great deal of experience with 98 caps for his side, and Pekerman will surely look to him to keep things steady at the back against some of the top attacks that Group C has to offer. There's an Italian theme throughout the backline as AC Milan's Cristian Zapata, Napoli's Camilo Zuniga will feature along with Pablo Armero, who spent the second half of last season on loan at West Ham United. There's a lot of international between those players in defence.

4.20pmThe team news has been announced and we'll start with Colombia.

4.22pmCOLOMBIA STARTING XI: Ospina, Zuniga, Zapata, Yepes, Armero, Sanchez, Aguilar, Rodriguez, Cuadrado, Ibarbo, Gutierrez.

4.22pmGREECE STARTING XI: Karnezis, Torosidis, Holebas, Kone, Manolas, Papastathopoulos, Salpingidis, Maniatis, Gekas, Katsouranis, Samaras.

4.25pmThere's no Fredy Guarin for Colombia this afternoon, as he his suspended for the opening game. Guiterrez leads the line in attack, meaning that Carlos Bacca and Martinez are forced to settle for a place on the bench. The 29-year-old striker will be supported from the flanks by Victor Ibarbo and Rodriguez, while Juan Guillermo Cuadrado, Carlos Sanchez and Abel Aguilar will operate in midfield. The backline is as expected with Zapata and Yepes being the anchors in the centre and Armero and Zuniga on the left and right flank respectively.

4.29pmFernando Santos picks Georgios Samaras to lead his attack this afternoon as the Celtic man beats out Kostas Mitroglou for the starting spot. Theofanis Gekas will support Samaras in attack, playing just off him in the hole. Kostas Katsouranis, Giannis Maniatis, Panagiotis Kone will occupy the midfield along with top scorer from qualifying Dimitris Salpingidis, who will look to push forward as often as he can. Sokratis Papastathopoulos has recovered from a knock that kept him out of his side's friendly game last week and will anchor the defence alongside Kostas Manolas, while Jose Holebas and Vasilis Torosidis will operate as full backs.

4.35pmTime for the breakdown of Greece and let's start with Mitroglou, who is starting from the bench this afternoon. The 26-year-old was in great form for Olympiacos last season as he scored 14 goals in 12 appearances in the Greek Super League. He also showed his pedigree in the Champions League with three goals in five games leading to a £11m move to Fulham. However, the wheels fell off for him at Craven Cottage as he made just three appearances under Felix Magath, who claimed that he wasn't fit for action. A huge blow for Greece as one of their leading men comes into the tournament short of fitness and form and we'll see how that affects them going forward. Samaras takes his place this afternoon after scoring 11 goals in all competitions for Celtic last season.

4.40pmOne of the main reasons why Greece are in the tournament is their success at the back during qualifying. In their 10 games in the group, they conceded just four goals. That helped them post 25 points, including eight wins to finish second and a showdown with Romania in their playoff game. Santos's side were of course victorious as they powered past the Eastern European side with a 4-2 aggregate win.

4.45pmBorussia Dortmund defender Sokratis Papastathopoulos is their lynchpin at the back and Santos will be delighted to see that he has recovered from an injury to play this afternoon. He made 40 appearances for Dortmund in all competitions, including the Champions League, so the 26-year-old comes into the tournament battle hardened and keen to impress. He will hope for a better first outing than his display in Euro 2012 when he was sent off in the first game of the tournament against Poland. Alongside Manolas, Greece will be looking at that duo to be able to shutdown the potent attacks in Group C to help them reach the second round of the competition for the first time in their history.

4.49pmOne player that might have flown under the radar of people heading into the tournament is Dimitris Salpingidis. The forward scored three goals in 10 games during qualifying and notched a goal in the playoff win over Romania. He has a knack of getting goals and is coming off a good season with PAOK, so he could surprise people at the tournament.

4.52pmThe players are massing in the tunnel so we're close to getting underway here.

4.55pmPREDICTION: Colombia have a lot of talent despite the absences of Falcao and Guarin this afternoon, and they should have enough to beat Greece today and the scoreline will be 3-1.

4.56pmThe players are out on the pitch and the national anthems are being sung. Kickoff is just minutes away.

1 minKICKOFF! We're underway at the Estadio Mineirao.

2 minNice start to the game for Colombia as Gutierrez makes a nice turn and drives at the Greece defence. He tries to slide a through ball for the run of Ibarbo down the right channel, but Papastathopoulos comes across and reads the danger and then clears the ball downfield.

4 minStrong start for Pekerman's side as Zuniga comes forward down the right this time and he tries to find an opening to shoot, but he is closed down by Holebas. Ibarbo tries to gather the loose ball on the byline and again he's rebuffed by Papastathopoulos. All hands to the pumps so far for Greece.

5 minGOAL! Colombia 1-0 Greece (Armero)

5 minColombia take the lead and it's the former West Ham defender Armero, who has handed them the advantage. Cuadrado did brilliantly down the right as he squared up Holebas before centering the ball. Rodriguez left the ball for the left-back who struck it first time, and with the aid of a deflection off Manolas, the ball crossed the line. Great start for Colombia and great celebration by Armero as he dances on the sideline.

6 minCHANCE! Greece almost hit back immediately as Samaras finds space down the left and he crosses the ball for the run of Kone inside the box. The striker is able to find his teammate, but his effort goes inches wide of the post. What a let off for Colombia, they switched off there for a second.

9 minThere's been a good response to falling behind by Greece as they've taken control of possession. They've been repelled so far by the Colombian backline with even Rodriguez coming back in defence to rob Maniatis of the ball to help his defenders. The tempo is slow at the moment, but that could be due to the heat.

11 minGreece have the chance to threaten from a free kick as Katsouranis is brought down 25 yards from goal. Holebase lines up the free kick, but he blasts his effort straight at the wall and Colombia clear the danger with ease. Not the best effort from the Olympiacos man.

14 minPlenty of quality possession play by Greece so far as Katsouranis and Maniatis have seen a lot of the ball. The problem for Santos's side is the quality hasn't quite been there in the final third of the pitch and that is summed up by Gekas as he fouls Yepes, when trying to chase down a ball over the top.

16 minAt the other end of the scale, Colombia haven't seen a great deal of the ball but when they do get it they look a threat in the final third. Ibarbo continues his busy start as he links up with Gutierrez, who lays the ball into his path inside the box, and only a good challenge from Manolas stops the forward from getting an effort away.

20 minIt's just not happening for Greece at the moment. Samaras has had a poor start to the game, he's not playing down the middle as expected, as he is playing on the left side of a three-man attack. He doesn't seem to be enjoying that role while Gekas down the middle is struggling to keep the ball under pressure from Zapata and Yepes. Santos might need a rethink here.

24 minGekas struggles again for Greece as Zapata brushes him off the ball on the edge of the box. That leads to trouble for Santos's side as Ibarbo speeds down the flank for Colombia and races into the box, and again Manolas is forced into making an excellent challenge to stop the attacker in his tracks.

26 minYELLOW CARD! Sanchez goes into the book as he brings down Samaras as the striker ran towards goal. It was a cynical challenge from the Elche man and he deserved the yellow card, he has to be careful now.

28 minCHANCE! Greece get a chance to threaten as Samaras is brought down again. Holebas lifts the ball into the box and Torosidis gets his head to the ball, but his header goes just wide of the target. It's been better in the last few minutes from Santos's men.

29 minGekas not endearing himself to his teammates at the moment. Maniatis plays the ball into space for the striker and continues his run into the box, Gekas tries to find him with an ambitious backheeled pass, but Yepes is there to make the interception and clear. He needs to hold the ball a lot better than this if Greece are to find a leveller.

31 minOspina is forced into action for the first time and it is a routine save for the stopper as Samaras's effort from the left-hand side is straight into his hands.

33 minYepes wins the ball deep for his side and advances all the way into the Greece half with the ball. He offloads to Rodriguez and continues his run, before the attack slowly peters out. Cuadrado has nothing on 30 yards from goal and decides to fire an effort at goal, which goes harmlessly wide of the post.

36 minA poor back header from Torosidis almost plays in Gutierrez who is in a foot race with Manolas for the ball, but the defender manages to outpace him and plays the ball back to Karnezis who clears the danger.

38 minCHANCE! Ibarbo continues to be a thorn in the side of the Greeks this afternoon and he manages to lift a cross to the back post for Rodriguez, but the Monaco man loses his composure at the worst moment and blasts his volleyed over the bar.

40 minGutierrez makes a nice turn in the final third for Colombia again on the edge of the box and he tries to find the run of Ibarbo through the middle, but it is one pass too many for the forward as Papastathopoulos manages to get back and clear the ball.

44 minCuadrado latches onto a ball over the top of Greece defence and he tries to hit an ambitious first-time volley, but he gets his effort all wrong the ball goes straight up in the air allowed Manolas to clear the danger.

45 minCHANCE! Ospina keeps his side ahead as he make a great save to deny Kone with a 20-yard effort. Gekas finally had some joy inside the box and he managed to shake off a challenge from Yepes, his pass found Samaras who in turn found Kone, who curled the ball towards the top corner but the keeper dove to palm the ball away.

45 minThere will be one minute of added time.

45 + 1 minHALF-TIME: Colombia 1-0 Greece

5.52pmColombia have the lead at the break in this Group C opener thanks to Armero's strike in the fifth minute of the game. They've looked more dangerous in the final third of the pitch and could maybe have been further ahead if not for some good defending from Manolas and Papastathopoulos. Defensively Pekerman's side have been resolute bar a couple of scares from Kone, but the manager will want his side to press on to seal the three points in their first game.

5.55pmGreece have had plenty of possession in the first half, but have lacked the real penetration that Colombia showed getting behind their defence. They've had a couple of moments through Kone, who perhaps should have done a little bit better with his effort as he guided the ball past the post, but his second effort was well saved by Ospina. Defensively Manolas and Papastathopoulos have been excellent bar the one breach early on, but they will need to have the pressure eased on them as the game wears on.

6.05pmThe players are making their way back onto the pitch and we should be back underway shortly.

46 minWe're back underway in their Group C opener.

47 minPENALTY SHOUT! Samaras weaves his way inside the box and Zuniga comes over the make the challenge. The Celtic man goes down inside the area, but the referee waves play on, and replays suggest that the striker may have gone down without any contact being made.

49 minBetter intent from Greece to start the second half as Samaras raids forward again, but his pass to Maniatis is cut out by Yepes. However, Salpingidis picks up the ball 20 yards from goal and tries his luck but his deflected shot is well saved by Ospina.

50 minCHANCE! Colombia hit Greece on the counter attack and Rodriguez raid forward and manages to fire a left-footed shot at goal from just outside the box, but Karnezis gets down low to his right and beats the ball away.

53 minYELLOW CARD! Papastathopoulos goes into the book for Greece as he brings down Ibarbo from behind.

55 minYELLOW CARD! Salpingidis joins his teammate in the book as he hauls down Armero as he raided forward from the back.

57 minSUBSTITUTION: Greece make the first change of the game as Salpingidis is replaced by Fetfatzidis.

58 minIt's been a tame start to the second half, the tempo hasn't quite reached the pace it was the first which again could be down to the heat.

58 minGOAL! Colombia 2-0 Greece (Gutierrez)

58 minColombia double their lead from a corner as Rodriguez crosses from the right towards the front post. Aguilar manages to get enough on the ball to flick it into the path of Gutierrez, who fires an effort in from close range. Cue more dancing celebrations from the Colombians.

60 minAnother decent response from Greece after conceding, but again they're lacking penetration in the final third of the pitch. Santos needs to find a spark from somewhere as this game could easily slip away from him very quickly.

63 minOFF THE BAR! Greece spurn an excellent chance to get back in the game as Gekas hits the bar from six yards out. Holebas lifted a ball over the top for Torosidis who managed to keep the ball in play and find the striker unmarked in the box. However, with just Ospina to beat he headed his effort off the bar. An incredible miss.

64 minSUBSTITUTION: The missed chance his Gekas's last moment on the pitch as Mitroglou replaces him.

67 minGreece are seeing a lot of the ball again, but they need to start carving out more chances or even half-chances at this stage. The miss from Gekas could be very costly indeed.

68 minSUBSTITUTION: Colombia make their first change as Mejia comes on for Aguilar.

70 minGreece show intent to get back into the game as Samaras plays the ball back to Mitrolou on the edge of the area, and he shoots first time but Yepes does well to get out to the striker to make the block.

74 minSUBSTITUTION: Arias replaces one of the Colombian goalscorers Armero.

75 minThe Greece players are starting to look a little bit frustrated as there are a few fingers being pointed now. First, Kone endures the wrath of Mitroglou as he fails to latch onto a cross-field pass, which was in truth hit far too hard by the striker. While, Torosidis plays an inaccurate pass when trying to find Fetfatzidis down the right.

76 minColombia try to kill the game off as Arias raids forward from the back and gets to the edge of the box before firing a low effort at goal, but his shot is tame and easily saved by Karnezis.

79 minColombia seem to be cruise control at the moment as Greece aren't playing like a side that are in desperate need of goals. Defensively Pekerman's side have been excellent all afternoon, with Yepes leading the way for his team with a solid performance.

79 minSUBSTITUTION: Martinez has replaced the second goalscorer Gutierrez for Colombia, while Karagounis has come on for Kone for Santos's men.

81 minColombia have taken all the sting out of the Greece attack and the blue shirts look very lethargic now, as the heat seems to be taking it's toll on the players. No-one is forcing the issue or trying to get in behind the Colombian backline, it's looking very bleak at the moment.

85 minCHANCE! Samaras comes within inches of dragging his side back into the game as he collects the ball on the edge of the area and decides to try to place the ball into the bottom corner. His effort beats Ospina, but goes just wide of the post.

87 minSamaras powers his way into the box and he tries to get an effort away, but he's surrounded by the Colombian defence and Zapata manages to hack the ball clear. Pekerman's backline have been excellent all afternoon.

90 minThere will be three minutes of added time.

90 + 3 minGOAL! Colombia 3-0 Greece (Rodriguez)

90 + 3 minColombia get their third goal and it shows a real killer instinct as they break from a free kick with Cuadrado. The winger weaves his way into the box and slides the ball into the path of Rodriguez, who finds the net with a neat finish into the bottom corner. That's the three points sealed for Pekerman's side.

90 + 4 minFULL-TIME: Colombia 3-0 Greece

6.55pmColombia show their credentials in their opening game of the World Cup with an emphatic 3-0 win here today. They were by far the better side this afternoon and dominated the match from the off thanks to Armero's opener. They could have had more in the first half had they been that bit more clinical, but Gutierrez handed them control of the game as he added the second in the 58th minute. Rodriguez put the icing on the cake for Pekerman's side with a well-taken goal to round off the win. Ivory Coast and Japan beware as Colombia look the real deal.

6.59pmGreece were poor all afternoon and failed to muster a great deal going forward, but Gekas may wonder if he could have dragged his side back onto the match when he hit the bar from six-yards out. Santos's men were second best and couldn't cope at times with the pace and flair of the Colombian forwards and were grateful to good defensive work from Manolas and Papastathopoulos to keep the score down. They have a lot of work to do to keep themselves in the competition in their next two games.

7pmThanks for joining our coverage of the Group C opener this evening, but be sure to stick around with us for the remaining three matches this evening as England face Italy and Uruguay take on Costa Rica. I'll be back later with coverage of the clash between the Ivory Coast and Japan, and until then, goodbye.

Colombia's coach, Argentine Jose Pekerman, gives instructions to the players during their Brazil 2014 FIFA World Cup South American qualifier match against Ecuador, in Barranquilla, Colombia, on September 6, 2013
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