2014 World Cup Preview: Colombia vs. Greece
Many would assume that the Colombia versus Greece match is easy to predict. Colombia is a known commodity and are playing not far from home. The match at Estadio Mineirao in Belo Horizonte will be the opening World Cup match of the day and means something different to both teams. For Colombia it is a game that can determine if they win the group. For Greece, getting anything from the match will give them hope of advancing.
Colombia will be searching for someone to score with the absence of Radamel Falcao. Teofilo Gutierrez may be put in Falcao’s role, but James Rodriguez will be the catalyst for the attack. Either Carlos Bacca and Jackson Martinez will join them up top showing that Colombia still has a lot of firepower. Unfortunately for Jose Pekerman‘s squad, Fredy Guarin is suspended for this match. Even with this attacking prowess, Colombia may need to be patient to find the breakthrough.
Greece is known for its defense, which will be tested. Scoring is a concern for Greece, but they kept eight shut outs during World Cup qualifying. Greece only scored two goals in their three preparation friendlies before heading to Brazil, but did keep both Nigeria and Portugal off the score sheet. Their defense may not have its top choices though. Defender Sokratis Papastathopoulos missed the last two matches with a muscle problem.
There will be one major lineup question for Fernando Santos as Kostas Mitroglou basically disappeared after his move to Fulham last year. With no consistent striker Greece will concede possession and try to weather the storm. The back four of Greece will be tested the entire game. Eventually the creativity of Rodriguez and the combination play with the attacking players will be too much. Colombia may not tally much but they will be given plenty of opportunities. In turn, Greece will not get many chances.
This will be the first of four matches played on Saturday and it could be a defensive struggle for much of the match. When Colombia gets the breakthrough, Greece will try to come forward. This will likely lead to a counter attack goal and the outcome will be as most are predicting.