World Cup 2014: Colombia v Greece match preview

A look ahead to this Saturday’s World Cup fixture at Estadio Mineirao

Colombia and Greece kick off Group C on Saturday evening, with the Colombians looking to show that there is life after Falcao, and that they can still compete as major contenders in Brazil. The injury to their star man was no doubt a major blow, but Colombia can still boast a talented group of players, with the likes of James Rodriguez, Juan Fernando Quintero and Juan Cuadrado likely to play a major part. Finishing second in South American qualification is no mean feat, and this quick, energetic Colombian side could be dark horses on South American soil, and are likely to prove too much for an ageing Greek side.

Greece were unbeaten in their three World Cup warm-up games, with one win against Bolivia and two 0-0 draws against Portugal and Nigeria. This could be an indication of how this hard-working Greek side are likely to set-up, looking to frustrate and shut-out opponents. Captain Giorgos Karagounis is still an influential player, but at the age of 37 could be past his peak, and Greece will rely on Dortmund’s talented young defender Papasthopoulos to lead from the back. He will have his work cut out on Saturday however, as Fernando Santos’ men will struggle to fend off this powerful Colombian side, who will be looking to take three points from their group opener.

 

KICK-OFF: Saturday, 5pm

 

PAST MEETING…

Colombia 2  Greece 0, International Friendly, June 1994

STATS…

These two teams have never met in a competitive match.

Greece have one of the oldest World Cup squads, with an average age of 28.5.

If Colombia’s substitute goalkeeper plays in this World Cup he will overtake Roger Milla as the oldest ever player to play at the World Cup finals, at the age of 42.

Greece’s Giorgos Karagounis will be making his 136 international appearance if he plays on Saturday.

Greece have six Serie A players in their squad, the third highest out of all the World Cup teams.

Greece only lost one game out of ten in 2013, coming in a 3-1 defeat against Bosnia & Herzegovina.

This will be Colombia’s first World Cup game since 1998.

Ten different leagues are represented in Colombia’s squad.

 

ODDS…

Colombia to win: 1.85

Greece to win: 5.00

Draw: 3.30

 

TV: Live on BBC One at 5pm

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