BELO HORIZONTE, Brazil (AP) — Colombia started its first World Cup campaign in 16 years in dazzling fashion, beating Greece 3-0 to open Group C on Saturday in front of a big, loud pro-Colombian crowd.
Left back Pablo Armero opened the scoring in the fifth minute when his deflected shot rolled past Greece goalkeeper Orestis Karnezis. Striker Teofilo Gutierrez poked in Colombia's second goal from a deflected corner in the 58th and James Rodriguez capped it off with a low shot in stoppage time after a slick backheel flick from Juan Cuadrado.
Colombia's pace and trickery were too much for Greece to handle in the latter stages as the 57,174 crowd, most dressed in bright yellow shirts, constantly chanted "Ole, ole" at Estadio Mineriao.
"It was a good debut with players who had never played a World Cup. It's a big satisfaction," Colombia coach Jose Pekerman said. "This is how we planned this match. Some things turned out the way we wanted, some things didn't, but we were very focused and showed that we're here to play a good World Cup."
Rodriguez said the result showed Colombia was on the right path.
"It's a good start, but we have to be calm for what's ahead, which will be even more difficult," he said, looking ahead at Group C matches against Ivory Coast and Japan.
Greece had the majority of possession with 54 percent, but whenever Colombia players got hold of the ball, they blazed down the flanks and through the middle of the pitch, disorientating their opponents.