- Live on CBC TV, streaming online at cbc.ca/fifaworldcup
What’s at stake
Colombia is playing without its talismanic striker, Radamel Falcao, who is out with an injury to injury. This is a huge blow to “Los Cafeteros." But they plan to prove that they have considerable depth across the squad in taking on Greece.
Greece wants to reverse an opening-match trend from their two previous World Cups (1994 and 2010) when they lost their first games without scoring a goal.
Impact players- Colombia: James Rodriguez. With Falcao out, all Colombian eyes will be on Rodriguez. Wearing number 10, this enormously talented 22-year old player is his team’s most dangerous attacker
- Greece: Konstantinos “Kostas” Mitroglou. This 26-year old striker, who plays for Fulham, scored 5 qualifying goals, including 3 in the playoffs.
What to watch for
Each team has talented strikers. But this match will likely be about defence, defence, defence.
While this match may not be a fan favourite for those who like goals, defence may make all the difference between these two teams.
Greece had five clean sheets during qualifying, second only to Ukraine in terms of European teams. Meanwhile, by conceding only 13 goals in 16 matches, Chile had the best defence in South American qualifying.
They said it-
“[Pekerman]’s a football man who can play the game and who, in his own way, has given Colombian football its identity back.” – Former Colombian football great Carlos Valderrama speaking about Colombian manager Jose Pekerman to FIFA.com.
“All the teams in the group are very good. A lot of points to be won, and a lot of points to be lost.” —Giorgos Karagounis, Greece’s most-capped player, told The Japanese Times
The Big Number
40 — Colombia has drawn more World Cup qualifiers than any other country in FIFA history — no fewer than 40 from a total of 134 played. Leading up to Brazil, however, Chile tied only three matches.
Obligatory Fun Fact
Greek striker Kostas Mitroglou is known as “The Pistolero” for this gun-toting goal celebrations.