Jun 14, 2014, 1:00 PM EDT
Story of the half: Colombia’s early goal forced Greece to abandon any lingering plans of putting ten men behind the ball. And after los cafeteros took their foot off the gas a bit, Greece were able to threaten – although their finishing certainly leaves something to be desired. Still, the Pirate Ship was at least being steered in the right direction.
Let’s be honest, though – the real story of that half was Colombia’s goal celebration.
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5′: An absolutely lovely goal from…Pablo Armero? That’s right, the Napoli left-back who spent half a season on loan at West Ham is the one that opened Colombia’s World Cup account. The blistering pace of Juan Cuadrado saw him past the Greece defense, allowing the Fiorentina man to slip a low cross inside the area. A fantastic dummy from James Rodríguez allowed Armero to make contact. He didn’t hit the ball very hard, but it took a deflection off Kostas Manolas and slowly trickled its way into the back of the net.
Other key moments:
3′: Greece make a break for it! Not even five minutes have passed and they’re across the halfway line, which may well be some sort of record.
6′: Greece very nearly equalize immediately, but Giorgos Samaras manages to place his shot just wide. That sure cut short the Colombians’ dancing.
17: A perfect challenge from Sokratis is all that prevents Colombia from getting what certainly would’ve been a second goal, after Juan Cuadrado and Teófilo Gutiérrez exchange passes to get them inside the area.
18′: James sends in a shot from distance, but Orestis Karnezis had no trouble collecting
26′: Yellow card shown to Colombia’s Carlos Sanchez for a foul on Giorgos Samaras, who executed a lovely barrel roll.
27′: Vasilis Torosidis gets his head on the end of a well-delivered free kick, but it flies just wide.
37′: James tries what well might have been a spectacular volley – if only it hadn’t ended up in the 20th row.
45′: The best effort for Greece comes from Panagiotis Kone, who jumps on a loose ball, sending in a sharp shot that Ospina has to palm away.
Columbia: Ospina; Zuniga, Zapata, Yepes, Armero; Sanchez, Aguilar; Rodriguez, Cuadrado, Ibarbo; Gutierrez
Goals: Armero 5′
Greece: Kamezis; Manolas, Torosidis, Papastathopolous, Holebas; Maniatis, Kone, Katsouranis; Salpingidis, Gekas, Samaras
Question(s) for the second half:
- Can Greece keep up with Colombia? - At 29, Samaras is the youngest of Greece’s front line. Dimitris Salpingidis is 32, Theofanis Gekas and Kostas Katsouranis are 34. After just 20 minutes, they already looked as though they were wilting. Of course, they do have Kostas Mitroglou on the bench.
- Will Colombia be able to get back in control? - Greece may have been wilting, but after Colombia took their foot off the gas, they fought back, getting themselves into dangerous positions behind the cafeteros defense. Colombia will need to do more to truly convince.
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