Colombia vs Greece (Grecia) will take place at Mineirão stadium in Belo Horizonte on Saturday, June 14 (9:00 AM PST, 1:00 PM local time), in the first Group C match of the tournament.
Colombia arrives to the match in a great run of form as they finished in second place in the CONMEBOL qualification, only two points behind Argentina, and didn’t lose in the last seven matches (3 wins and 4 ties) including friendlies and qualification games. This will be the fifth World Cup in the Cafeteros‘ history.
Moreover, they defeated Belgium in Brussels and drew against Netherlands in Amsterdam in November 2013. However, their last match was a loss against Uruguay in Montevideo on September 10.
Manager Néstor Pekerman can’t rely on the star of the team, striker Radamel Falcao, who’s injured and out of World Cup. However, Colombia have very good players that had great performances last season in their teams in Europe like striker Carlos Bacca (Sevilla), defender Camilo Zúñiga (Napoli) and midfielders Freddy Guarin (Inter), Juan Cuadrado (Fiorentina) and James Rodríguez (Monaco).
The goalkeeper of the team, David Ospina (who plays for Niza in France), thinks that the first match is crucial: “We want to begin well, win the three points, because that would be essential for the confidence of the team. Everything depends on the first game.”
On the other hand, Greece qualified to the World Cup after defeating Romania in a two-match play-off leg. They were the best of the second-placed teams in UEFA qualification, with 25 points – the same as the leader of their group Bosnia and Herzegovina, but they went to play-off due to an inferior goal difference.
In their last friendlies they tied against Portugal in Lisbon (0-0 on May 31) and against Nigeria (0-0 again, on June 3) and defeated Bolivia (2-1 on June 6).
This is the third World Cup for the Greeks, who played in USA 1994 –they lost the three games and didn’t even score a goal– and South Africa 2010 –they won one match against Nigeria but finished third in their group.
The best result in the history of Greek football was winning the 2004 European Championship in Portugal, defeating the host in the final game. For this World Cup, only two players remain from the team managed by the German Otto Rehagel: midfielders Kostas Katsouranis (34, plays for PAOK), and Giorgos Karagounis (37, Fulham).
Ten years later, and managed by the Portuguese Fernando Santos since 2010, they want to pass the group stage for the first time in their history. That will be a difficult task, since besides Colombia, they share group with other two tough teams such as Ivory Coast and Japan.
Colombia vs Greece Prediction
In my opinion, Colombia is clearly the favorite team to win this match. Even without Falcao, they have a great team, and I think they’ll have a great performance World Cup. Greece won’t be an easy opponent, but I believe that Colombia will take control of the match from the beginning.
Colombia 3 – 1 Greece
Colombia vs Greece Television
The Colombia vs Greece match will be televised in the USA on ESPN3 (stream) and Univision Deportes at 9:00 AM Pacific on Friday.