After going 16 years without appearing in the World Cup, Colombia looks ready to stay in Brazil for a while.
In its opening match in Group C, Colombia dispatched Greece, 3-0, with a dynamic display of scoring and celebrating. Even without injured striker Radamel Falcao, Colombia showed its offensive potency early on Saturday at Estadio Mineirao in Belo Horizonte. In the fifth minute, a deflected shot from Pablo Armero found its way past Greece goalkeeper Orestis Karnezis.
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The goal was Colombia's first in a World Cup since the Group Stage in 1998 and the players understandably celebrated as if it was a moment that was a long time coming.
Colombia doubled its advantage over the defensive-minded Greek team in the 58th minute when Teofilo Gutierrez deftly directed the ball into the net off a corner kick. The ball was first touched by Colombia's Abel Aguilar at the near post and Gutierrez made no mistake at the far post.
WATCH: Teofilo Gutierrez Gives Colombia 2-0 Lead
With the victory already tantalizingly close, James Rodriguez provided the exclamation point on Colombia's World Cup return with a third goal. In the 93rd minute, Rodriguez finished a clever bit of Colombia interplay with a left-footed shot that beat Karnezis.
WATCH: James Rodriguez Scores Colombia's Third Goal
The three goals tallied by Colombia in its opening match in Brazil is the most the nation has scored in any World Cup outing since 1962, according to ESPN Stats & Info.