Join Now | 
HomeAboutContact UsPrivacy & SecurityAdvertise
Soccer America DailySoccer World DailySpecial EditionAround The NetSoccer Business InsiderCollege Soccer ReporterYouth Soccer ReporterSoccer on TVSoccer America ClassifiedsGame Report
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalkSoccer America ConfidentialYouth Soccer InsiderWorld Cup Watch
RSS FeedsArchivesManage SubscriptionsSubscribe
Order Current IssueSubscribeManage My SubscriptionRenew My SubscriptionGift Subscription
My AccountJoin Now
Tournament CalendarCamps & AcademiesSoccer GlossaryClassifieds
Colombia is cruising and Greeks make history
by Mike Woitalla, June 24th, 2014 9:26PM

MOST READ
TAGS:  colombia, greece, ivory coast, japan, world cup 2014

MOST COMMENTED

By Mike Woitalla
(@MikeWoitalla)

Colombia continued its brilliant run with a 4-1 win over Japan to finish first in Group C while Greece became the tournament's biggest underdog -- along with Costa Rica – to reach the second round, thanks to a 2-1 win over Ivory Coast. Here's what we think about the latest knockout round qualifiers.

James-led Cafeteros are delight to watch. Colombia, last seen at a World Cup 16 years ago, had never won more than a single game at its four previous appearances. The Cafeteros’ 4-1 win over Japan marked their third straight win in Brazil, with a combined score of 9-2.

Leading the Colombians is the 22-year-old playmaker James Rodriguez, one this tournament’s most exciting and productive players and early contender for the Golden Ball.

In Colombia’s opener, a 3-0 win over Greece, James dummied the ball to Pablo Armero for the first goal, set up Teo Gutierrez for the second and scored the third himself. In the 2-0 victory over the Ivory Coast, he scored and set up 21-year-old Juan Quintero’s goal. Colombia entered Tuesday’s game already having clinched a second-round spot, so Coach Jose Pekerman rested most of his starters, including James. But the 1-1 halftime scoreline pulled James off the bench and he took over again, with dazzling dribbling moves and defense-splitting passes.

While in prime shooting position in the 55th minute, James instead served up Jackson Martinez. In the 82nd minute, James’ through ball set up Martinez’s second goal and James finished off the scoring my juking a defender and chipping the keeper at close range with his left foot as we so often see Lionel Messi doing it. (Martinez, after playing only 17 minutes in the first two games, demonstrated how deep the Cafeteros’ attacking talent is.)

Colombia’s teams of the 1990s, lead by Carlos Valderrama, often entertained in such fashion but came up short at World Cups. Pekerman’s team looks able capable of reaching the quarterfinals for the first time in history. In the round of 16, it faces Uruguay, which should be without Luis Suarez after FIFA reviews the biting incident.



Greece can score just enough. Its most glorious achievement came when Greece won the 2004 European Championship by scoring only seven goals in six games -- three 1-0 wins taking it from the quarterfinals to the final.

Its World Cup history consisted of first-round exits in 1994 and 2010 before starting this tournament off -- as Europe’s least fancied team -- by playing two games without hitting the net: the 3-0 loss to Colombia and scoreless tie with Japan.

Greece faced the Ivory Coast needing a win to advance. That meant finally scoring a goal -- a feat it accomplished in the 42nd minute when Andreas Samaris capitalized on a defensive mistake. The Elephants energized in the second half and seemed to doom the Greeks with Wilfried Bony's 74th-minute equalizer.

Greece’s hopes looked dim until two minutes into stoppage time when Giovanni Sio clumsily tripped up Georgios Samaras, who converted the penalty kick himself to send Greece to the second round for the first time in history. Awaiting is Costa Rica, the surprise winner of a group that included former World Cup champions Uruguay, Italy and England.

At least one of the biggest pre-tournament underdogs will reach the quarterfinals.


No comments yet.

Sign in to leave a comment. Don't have an account? Join Now




AUTHORS

ARCHIVES
FOLLOW SOCCERAMERICA

Recent Soccer America Confidential
Legal primer explains past and (possible) future of soccer litigation    
The lawsuit filed by U.S Soccer against U.S. Women's National Team Players Association in U.S. District ...
Chicago Fire's Paunovic is counting on new youngsters    
A major makeover of the Fire under head coach Veljko Paunovic and general manager Nelson Rodriguez ...
For once, USA starts off a year just as it's supposed to    
Defensive miscues. Sloppy touches. Blown assignments. Confusion. These negative facets of play have been part and ...
Jozy shows he's still the man up front    
U.S. soccer fans have a love-hate relationship with most of their big stars. For every fan ...
Lee Nguyen on how he parlayed longer offseason into national team success    
Revs attacker Lee Nguyen got his first U.S. start against Iceland last Sunday and turned in ...
Revs' Heaps relishes competition and preaches consistency    
Aside from the apparent departure of Jermaine Jones, not a lot has changed on the New ...
USA-Canada match underscores Olympic issues for Klinsmann    
A games against Canada Friday may be the last opportunity for USA coaches Jurgen Klinsmann and ...
Christian Pulisic, 'the American Jewel,' must be protected    
I can think of 10 reasons we should be excited about Christian Pulisic. Those are each ...
Paths of Miazga and Cropper cross with both at crucial points    
An FA Cup match this weekend between MK Dons and Chelsea is a tussle between a ...
Return of Movsisyan reconnects Real Salt Lake with its rise to success    
After five years in Europe, striker Yura Movsisyan has come back to Real Salt Lake on ...
>> Soccer America Confidential Archives