Colombia cruises past Greece in Group C opener

Belo Horizonte, Brazil (SportsNetwork.com) - Colombia made a promising start to its World Cup campaign on Saturday, cruising to a 3-0 defeat of Greece at the Estadio Mineirao.

Pablo Armero helped the Colombians jump out in front with a goal in the sixth minute while goals from Teo Gutierrez in the 58th minute and James Rodriguez in the third minute of stoppage time sealed all three points.

The result gives the South American country a solid foundation to take an early lead in Group C while putting Greece in a slight hole, though Fernando Santos' men will attempt to bounce back in their next outing when they face Japan on Thursday.

Colombia's dominant performance began with an early strike as Juan Cuadrado squared pass for Armero to lash a shot on target. The shot took a slight deflection to trickle just inside the post as goalkeeper Orestis Karnezis failed to keep it out.

Greece's best chance of the opening period came in the 45th minute when a loose ball rolled to the top of the box, allowing Panagiotis Kone to curl a right-footed effort toward goal, but David Ospina's sprawling save denied the Bologna man an equalizer.

It proved to be a pivotal save as the Colombians doubled their advantage just before the hour mark when Rodriguez's corner kick to the near post was flicked on by Abel Aguilar, allowing Teo Gutierrez to turn it in with a brilliant reaction finish.

Greece nearly pulled one back in the 63rd minute when Vasilis Torosidis squared a long ball to the top of the six-yard box for Theofanis Gekas, but the Konyaspor striker rattled his header off the crossbar to deny his side a lifeline.

The Colombians wrapped up the affair deep into second-half stoppage time following a well-worked move that saw Rodriguez collect a nifty flick from Cuadrado and convert a clinical finish past Karnezis.

Jose Pekerman's men will look to keep the momentum rolling on Thursday when they face the Ivory Coast at the Estadio Nacional.

06/14 14:20:19 ET