One day after the footballing world is still in a state of shock over the Spanish destruction at the hands of the Netherlands, the World Cup resumes Saturday with a full slate of four very intriguing matches. While it’s safe to assume the Spanish will be back angrier than ever in their next match, that 5-1 scoreline was a firm message from the Dutch. Despite their injuries, despite their lack of form in the lead-up to the World Cup, they remain one of the world’s elite sides. An impressive performance no doubt.
On to today’s action where we will focus on Group C action, as the high-flying Colombians take on a stingy Greek side content to defend for the full ninety minutes. It’s a clash of two very different styles and it will be interesting to see which one prevails.
Colombia will be without their top player for this tournament in Radamel Falcao. The Monaco forward suffered a knee injury and hasn’t been deemed fully fit to feature in these contests. Still, the Colombians possess an array of talent and many believe now is their time to shine after many years removed from international competitions.
The Greeks meanwhile still try and win the same way they did back in 2004 when they were crowned the champions of Europe. Their game is predicated on absolutely stellar defense. All players on the pitch are committed to not allowing scoring chances and as a result, the Greeks only conceded 4 goals in 10 qualifying games. Scoring against Greece isn’t an easy task for any country, Colombia included.
Colombia vs. Greece Betting Odds:
Colombia (-125) / Draw (+240) / Greece (+400)
Over 2 (-105) / Under 2 (-115)
Betting odds provided by Bovada.lv
Colombia vs. Greece Prediction:
After being absent from huge international competitions for so many years, the Colombians are finally back on the world stage and they boast a ton of intriguing footballers. Even without Falcao, the Colombians look poised to cruise through a relatively easy Group C, but beginning with the Greeks won’t be a cakewalk. Greece’s insistence on tight defending and marking can be frustrating for the talented Colombians, but ultimately look for the flair and skill of Colombia to win out.
Greece has nice pieces, but their offense is simply too anemic to hold a legitimate threat at ever winning a match. Colombia will constantly push the ball to the flanks, looking to ensure their 22-year old winger James Rodriguez gets many touches on the ball. Rodriguez is a budding superstar and sees the World Cup as an opportunity for his fame to grow. He’ll look to expose the weakness of the Greek side – their fullbacks Jose Holebas and Vasilis Torosidis. Holebas and Torosidis have been fixtures of the Greek side for some time now, but always seem to be involved in mistakes. For such a conservative side, these fullbacks are regularly caught out of position, and look for Rodriguez to take full advantage.
While the Colombians also have a weakness at the back, Greece aren’t of a high enough caliber to exploit that. Colombia is old and slow in the heart of defense, but Greece’s main striker Kostas Mitroglou had a nightmare of a season at Fulham, and it remains to be seen how effective he’ll be on this stage.
Although Greece is defensively stable and won’t lay down for anyone, Colombia is likely the one team in all of Group D that can break their defensive schemes down. Expect Colombia to capitalize on Greece’s flaws, and the wide-play of James Rodriguez and Cuadrado should wear down the Greek fullbacks. Colombia is blessed with talented playmakers and finishers all over the field, and Greece won’t have the depth or energy to mercilessly defend for a full 90 minutes. It will be tight, but a Colombia win to nil seems fitting. 1-0 or 2-0 is the bet here.
PICK = Colombia (-125)
Bonus Pick = Colombia to win to nil (+130)