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June 14, 2014
 

World Cup Liveblog: Colombia v. Greece

Day three of the 2014 World Cup kicks off with match featuring two sides which couldn’t be more dissimilar. High-flying Colombia, a dark horse for many before losing Falcao, play an aggressive, attacking style but have serious question marks at the back. Greece on the other hand will normally look for a set-piece goal and then park that bus. They actually have a Greyhound on their roster, and didn’t concede a single goal at home in qualifying until their playoff with Romania.

Save the drama for Valderrama.

Save the drama for Valderrama.

To be fair to the Greeks, this is one of their youngest squads in recent memory, with the likes of Tachtsidis and Kone in support of stalwarts Samaras and Gekas up front.

Colombia meanwhile will hope that some combination of Jackson Martinez, Teofilo Gutierrez, or Adrian Ramos can pick up the scoring slack left by Falcao’s injury. Nice goalkeeper (Nice, France that is) David Ospina had a shaky run up to this tournament and will need to improve behind a sometimes shaky, mostly Serie A based backline in front of him.

Like Chile v. Australia last night, I think this one has the potential to be a sneakily good game, so join me once again before 12:00 ET for lineups, predictions, and general merriment.

Remember when George Clooney was the Greek keeper? They left him in Greece too.

Remember when George Clooney was the Greek keeper? They left him in Greece too.

Pregame

Lineups:

Colombia: Ospina; Armero, Zapata, Yepes, Zúñiga; Sánchez, Abel, Cuadrado, James Rodriguez, Ibarbo; Teofilo Gutierrez.

Greece: Kamezis; Manolas, Torosidis, Papastathopolous, Holebas; Maniatis, Kone, Katsouranis; Salpingidis, Gekas, Samaras

I will be referring to Papastathopolous as “Papas” if you don’t mind.

Also, this has nothing to do with this match but NOOOO BUFFON NOOOOOOOOOOOO!

Some of these youth mascots looks pretty old, no?

Colombia leading this match in ethnic diversity.

Some of these players dishonoring themselves with very weak arm-crossing in the intro graphics.

Kickoff! The Greeks get us started and away we go!

2′ – A nice Colombia move shut down at the last second by the Greek defense. Colombia pressing early here.

3′ – Torosidis shoots, I think, from about 50 yards out. That might be as close as the Greeks are comfortable getting.

4′ – Greece bend but don’t break again, Colombia having little trouble getting into the box though. Nice move started by Zuniga.

5′ – First shot on goal to Greece if you can believe it. Maniatis strikes low, comfortable enough for Ospina.

GOAL COLOMBIA! And what a celebration! Armero will claim it but a big deflection saw it sneak into the net. Cuadrado with an incisive ball into the box and Armero gets the job done.

7′ – Kone with a chance to respond immediately but his shot is shanked just a bit wide.

8′ – What a start to this match and this matchday. Great crowd in Belo Horizonte.

10′ – Greece responding well actually with some solid possession. Torosidis upended and they’ll have one of their favored free-kicks in a dangerous area, 35 yards or so from goal. It’s wasted, blasted into the wall.

15′ – The Greeks have dictated play since the goal but failing to really trouble Ospina. Yepes does his best Jake Muzzin impression and wins a free kick to relieve pressure.

17′ – Ibarbo with a nice give and go but he holds on just too long to get a shot away. James Rodriguez then shoots tamely into the grateful arms of Karnezis.

21′ – Play largely confined to the midfield for the last ten minutes or so, neither side risking or creating much. Greece still bossing possession. Yes. Greece.

24′ – Greece poking and prodding here, still not enough invention to create a real chance. Ibarbo then makes a strong run forward but runs out of steam.

26′ – Yellow Card - Geiger whips out his first yellow. It’s a justified one on Sanchez who cynically brings down Samaras as the Celtic man gallops forward.

28′ – Another free kick to Greece. Too far for a shot but let’s hope for better distribution this time. It is! And Torosidis rises to head a few feet wide.

30′ – BLOOD!!! Not much really but Geiger send Gutierrez off for a band-aid.

32′ – Samaras with a tame effort from a tough angle. Easy for Ospina. Samaras sure is a lanky fucker.

34′ – Greece still the most threatening. Armero with a rare defensive play and Greece have a corner. These are their best chances to score you have to feel. It’s easily dealt with but Greece win possession right back.

37′ – Corner to Colombia now. A rare foray forward for the men in yellow. Greece have struggled defending these interestingly enough. It goes all the way through the box, swung back in and James Rodriguez takes a wild swing at it and it ends up in row Z. Would have been some finish.

39′ – Another Greek corner now. Who will capitalize on one of these first? Not Greece. Not yet anyway. Well cleared by the Colombians yet again.

40′ – Kone with a strong run into the box but Greece still missing that final, killer ball. #KONE2014

41′ – Corner to Colombia now. Short corner. I HATE short corners. Again it comes to nothing.

44′ – Cuadrado hits a volley sky high after a nice move sent him into the box. If Colombia gets another here the Greeks don’t look to have what it takes to get back in it thus far.

45′ – BIG SAVE OSPINA! Salpingidis and Gekas combine well, the ball finally makes its way to Kone who hits it with venom from just outside the box, but the Colombian keeper reacted well and parried it out safely.

HALFTIME – Just the one goal but a good half of football. Well refereed so far it must be said. Colombia have the 1-0 lead but they are playing a dangerous, dare I say very Greek-style match, content to let the 2004 European Champions dictate play. We’re in for an exciting second half. Back in a moment!

Second half is underway!

47′ – Taylor Twellman already worrying about GD in a one-goal match.

47′ – Geiger waves off a Greek penalty shout. Credit to Samaras for his honesty, AFTER he flopped like a fish.

49′ – Greece are on the front foot here again in this second half. A Salpingidis strike takes a big deflection and lands harmlessly in Ospina’s arms.

50′ – Colombia exploit Greece’s openness and Rodriguez again gets off a shot. Solid save from Karnezis and the Greeks clear the rebound.

51′ – Torosidis hits a hard, low cross but it’s just too close to Ospina. Greece looking the more likely here if you ask me. Next goal, quite obviously, is huge.

53′ - Yellow Card – Reckless from Papasthamapolidikilinas. Colombia free kick from 35 yards. Danger for Greece. Nope, hits the wall. SET PIECES, right Alexi?

55′ - Yellow Card – Armero still torturing the Greeks on the right. He’s been by far Colombia’s best. Salpingidis had little choice but to bring him down. Karnezis collects the resulting free kick.

SUBSTITUTION – Fetfatzidis comes in for Salpingidis who just picked up a yellow. Was gonna happen anyway.

58′ – Colombia corner. AND IT’S IN! GOAL COLOMBIA! The South Americans had been coming on stronger and it’s Gutierrez with the decisive touch! It took a flick on and it was simple tap in for the River Plate man. 2-0. Game over?

61′ – The Greeks are clearly frustrated. So much possession and so little to show. I won’t write them off just yet but someone needs to do something special for them to get back in this.

63′ – Gekas hits the crossbar and how did he miss!? That WAS the chance for Greece. Torosidis volleys a great cross to an unmarked Gekas and it would have been harder to miss than score! My oh my.

SUBSTITUTION – And it’s the culprit Gekas who makes way for Mitroglou. That miss will haunt him.

66′ – Torosidis has put in the best shift for the Greeks. He plays another cross into the box from that right flank but finds only a Colombian head again. Zapata this time.

67′ – Colombia take another short corner. Rodriguez ends up with the shot but it’s blocked easily.

SUBSTITUTION – Abel Aguilar replaced by Mejia for Colombia.

70′ – Greek corner. They won’t go quietly but they really need to press, against their instincts, if they want to change the scoreline. Yepes rises and clears, the experienced Colombia captain has been rock solid. Ospina then punches another Greek cross clear.

SUBSTITUTION – Armero, clearly a bit fatigued, replaced by Arias.

75′ – Both sides lacking some composure now. Colombia to kill it off and Greece to get anything more than a speculative effort.

SUBSTITUTION – Colombia replace their other goalscorer, Gutierrez, with Jackson Martinez.

77′ – Karnezis scrambles low to collect a shot. Very open game now but neither side able to create a whole lot from open play.

SUBSTITUTION – Kone, whose influence waned in the second half, replaced by Karagounis. Can the old guard make something happen late on?

79′ – Lots of whistles now, game getting choppy. Suits the Colombians just fine.

85′ – Samaras slides a long effort just wide after more hustle from Torosidis. The latter’s been everywhere for Greece but the finishing touch is just nowhere to be found for Hellas.

88′ – Samaras down in the box again but no real shout for a penalty. Too many strong runs have ended on the deck for the Greeks.

90′ – Three minutes of added time. This game really needed that Gekas header to find the net.

92′ – EMERGENCY BROADCAST SYSTEM TEST

93′ – GOAL COLOMBIA! It’s JAMES Rodriguez! Greece go to sleep and Rodriguez finishes low just beyond the fingertips or Karnezis. Three goals and three points to Colombia!

AND THAT’S IT! The game had a decent pace all the way through even if the quality dropped severely after Colombia’s second. 3-0 the final. Deserved.

I’ll be back for Uruguay v. Costa Rica not too long from now. See you then!

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