By Sportswriter Pan Yi
BELO HORIZONTE, Brazil, June 14 (Xinhua) -- Group C seeds Colombia breezed past Greece 3-0 in their World Cup first match here on Saturday afternoon.
Colombia enjoyed a flying start as defender Pablo Armero scored only five minutes into the game. He got on the end of the cross and his shot took a deceiving deflection beating Greek goalkeeper Orstis Karnezis.
Greece coach Fernando Santos from Portugal said after the match that his team failed to concentrate enough in the first five to 10 minutes and conceded a goal too fast.
"Then they (Colombia) controlled the match till the end and made us very very difficult to play," Santos added.
One minute later, assisted by Georgios Samaras, Greece midfielder Panagiotis Kone smashed a right-footed shot from the centre of the box. It was very close, but missed to the right.
Both sides squandered several chances in the first half which witnessed Colombia's 4-2-3-1 and Greece's 4-3-3 formations.
In the injury time of the first half, Panagiotis fired a curling long shot just outside the box, making Colombian keeper David Ospina stretch brilliantly.
River Plate's forward Teofilo Gutierrez lifted Colombia to 2-0 in the 58th minute when he found the back of the net off a deflected corner and was on the doorstep to tap it in.
Colombia head coach Jose Pekerman from Argentina said after the match that he was very happy at the result which is "very important " for his team to be in the tournament.
"Colombian players proved today that they are creative. Even though they lost ball sometimes, they played as a team and sticked to the pre-planned technical objective," Pekerman noted.
Greece forward Theofanis Gekas got a dive in the 63rd minute but his header smashed off the crossbar. He was replaced by Konstantinos Mitroglou one minute later.
Ioannis Fetfatzidis from Italy's Genoa, who substituted Salpingidis in the second half, made eye-catching play several times but he did not get enough ball possession.
Colombia's James Rodriguez from AS Monaco, the No. 10 on the field, made a wonderful goal in injury time to widen the gap to 3-0.
Rodriguez, the Man of the Match, said that he was very happy becuase "we won and I scored". He hopes to keep winning in this way.
Ironically, stronger-looking Colombia won the game, but Greece boasted more ball possession. Neither sides played their familiar football. But Colombia were better in skills.
Group C has Colombia, Greece, Japan and Cote d'Ivoire. Japan will play Cote d'Ivoire today, but late at night.