We’ve seen 14 goals in the World Cup so far – the fastest rate of goals to game since 1958 – but today’s Group C opener between Colombia and Greece might be more dour and tense than the thrillers we’ve seen so far.
Jose Penkerman’s side were the subject of a large and sustained gamble as they went on an impressive qualifying campaign that saw them second only to Argentina at the end of proceedings, but Radamel Falcao’s early injury has taken the wind out of their sails for many. But they come here with a team loaded with attacking talent and it would be foolish to rule them out on the basis of just one man being gone.
Teofilio Gutierrez has scored 4 in his last 5 before joining up with the squad – and also has 12 goals in 30- internationals and behind him he’s ably backed up by James Rodriguez, who made a very positive impression in his first season with Monaco, who finished second behind Paris St Germain in Ligue 1, while Juan Cudrado scored 11 goals for Fiorentina and provides the width that could be needed to break down a stubborn Greece defence.
The Greeks scored just 12 in qualifying but let in an astonishingly miserly four and their rigid 4-3-3 with Kostas Manolas at centreback alongside Sokratis Papastathopoulos name just one of their tough defenders is going to be hard to break down, and they will hope to get something on the break here although that could be easier said than done against a side that let in just 13 in a far stronger South American qualifying section than Greece’s European section.
Greece are not without their chance of frustrating Colombia, but they face a far more potential threat than Poland, Russia or the Cezchs and with Colombia ahead of Bosnia in the rankings it looks as if this is their toughest test yet – and the dark horses for many can show what they’re truly made of and kick start their campaign with a win.
6 pts Colombia (10/11 general)