Colombia on the brink of second round

02:07, Jun 20 2014
Teo Gutierrez
Teo Gutierrez celebrates Colombia's second goal in a 3-0 rout of Greece in Belo Horizonte.
James Rodriguez
James Rodriguez (bottom) celebrates Colombia's third goal against Greece.
Orestis Karnezis
Greece goalkeeper Orestis Karnezis watches as Colombia's first goal rolls across the line.
Colombians
Colombia players dance in unison after their first goal in Belo Horizonte.
Giorgos Samaras
Greece's Giorgos Samaras holds the ball as Colombia's Juan Camilo Zuniga hassles him.
Panagiotis Kone
Greece's Panagiotis Kone reacts after missing an open shot.
Didier Drogba
Didier Drogba of the Ivory Coast controls the ball against Keisuke Honda of Japan during their Group C match.
Celebration
The Ivory Coast celebrate their second goal scored by Gervinho during the Group C match between the Ivory Coast and Japan.
Yaya Toure
Maya Yoshida of Japan tackles Yaya Toure of the Ivory Coast.
Japan fans
Supporters of Japan cheer during their 2014 World Cup Group C soccer match against Ivory Coast.
Japan goal
Keisuke Honda of Japan (2nd L) celebrates scoring the team's first goal with teammates during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Group C match between the Ivory Coast and Japan
Slide
Yuto Nagatomo of Japan tackles Gervinho of the Ivory Coast during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Group C match between the Ivory Coast and Japan
Teo Gutierrez
Teo Gutierrez high-fives team-mates after Juan Quintero made it 2-0 in the 70th minute against Ivory Coast.
Serge Aurier
Ivory Coast's Serge Aurier runs towards a big ball during the Group C match between Colombia and Ivory Coast.
Wilfried Bony
Colombia's Cristian Zapata watches as Ivory Coast's Wilfried Bony jumps.
Colombia fans
Colombia fans celebrate Juan Quintero's goal during the Group C match between Colombia and Ivory Coast.
Vanishing spray
Referee Howard Webb of England sprays vanishing spray on the pitch during the Group C match between Colombia and Ivory Coast.
Juan Quintero
Colombia's Juan Quintero scores his team's second goal past Ivory Coast's goalkeeper Boubacar Barry.
Japan v Greece
Yoshito Okubo of Japan is challenged by Sokratis Papastathopoulos of Greece
Japan v Greece
Eiji Kawashima of Japan punches clear during the 2Group C match between Japan and Greece.
Japan v Greece
Greece's Giorgios Samaras commits a foul against Japan's Atsuto Uchida.
Japan v Greece
Japan's Yoshito Okubo reacts after missing a chance to score a goal during their Group C match against Greece.
Japan v Greece
Fans arrive before the Group C match between Japan and Greece.
Japan v Greece
Greece's Vasilis Torosidis heads the ball against Japan.
Colombia v Japan
Japan's Yoshito Okubo tries to score past Colombia's Carlos Valdes.
Colombia v Japan
Colombia's James Rodriguez scores their fourth goal against Japan.
Colombia v Japan
Japan's Keisuke Honda reacts after Colombia scored their fourth goal.
Colombia v Japan
Colombia's Santiago Arias (R) fights for the ball with Japan's Shinji Kagawa
Colombia v Japan
Yoshito Okubo of Japan and Eder Alvarez Balanta of Colombia.
Colombia v Japan
Colombia's goalkeeper David Ospina stops an attempt at goal as Japan's Yoshito Okubo jumps against Pablo Armero.
Greece v Ivory Coast
Greece's Giorgios Samaras goes down in the challenge of Ivory Coast's Giovanni Sio to win a penalty.
Greece v Ivory Coast
Greece's Giorgios Samaras consoles Ivory Coast's Boubacar Barry, after he scored a penalty past Barry.
Greece v Ivory Coast
Greece celebrate after defeating the Ivory Coast 2-1.
Greece v Ivory Coast
Serge Aurier of the Ivory Coast challenges Giorgos Samaras of Greece.
Greece v Ivory Coast
A general view of action as Giorgos Karagounis of Greece takes a free kick during the Group C match against the Ivory Coast.
Greece v Ivory Coast
Ivory Coast's Wilfried Bony scores against Greece.

Colombia seized control of World Cup Group C when goals from James Rodriguez and substitute Juan Quintero gave the South Americans a 2-1 win against Ivory Coast on Thursday (local time).

The two nations, meeting for the first time, won their opening games against Greece and Japan respectively and Colombia's success in an entertaining contest puts them on six points at the top of the group, with Ivory Coast on three.

The match only really came to life in the second half and Rodriguez broke the deadlock in the 64th minute when he beat substitute Didier Drogba to the ball at a corner and sent it arrowing into the net off goalkeeper Boubacar Barry.

Rodriguez dispossessed Serey Die six minutes later and Teofilo Gutierrez sent Quintero clear to finish coolly past Barry and send the thousands of yellow-clad Colombia supporters thronging the national stadium in Brasilia into ecstasy.

Gervinho, who also scored against Japan, pulled one back for the Africans in the 73rd minute but Colombia held firm to put one foot firmly in the last 16.

After a cagey opening few minutes in the giant arena in the Brazilian capital, Colombia started to push forward, with midfielder Juan Cuadrado at the heart of their attacks.

It was Cuadrado's ball out to the left that released Rodriguez in the 28th minute but his fine cross was scuffed wide by striker Gutierrez unmarked in front of goal.

Ivory Coast had their first genuine chance three minutes later when lively fullback Serge Aurier cut inside his marker and his low shot forced a good save from Colombia goalkeeper David Ospina.

Ivory Coast talisman Drogba, who was introduced on the hour, was at fault for the opening goal and made little impact during the rest of the game.

After Colombia's quickfire double and Gervinho's response, Ivory Coast pressed hard for an equaliser, Salomon Kalou, another substitute, shooting straight at Ospina when well placed five minutes from time.

 

Teo Gutierrez
Teo Gutierrez

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Reuters