Colombia vs. Greece, 2014 World Cup: A primer for new fans

Gualter Fatia

Colombia are an exciting team blessed with lots of attacking talent and flair. Greece are... not. But they do know how to defend. Welcome to the first real one-sided game at the World Cup.

If you are new to the World Cup, you'll have been enjoying several finely-balanced, absorbing encounters between two teams that are both trying to win. But now things are going to get a little bit different.

Playing styles

Colombia have put together a very good side at this World Cup, and even though they're missing their best player through injury, Radamel Falcao, they're amply-stocked for strikers so it shouldn't worry them too much. They're blessed in most areas of the pitch, but particularly in attack, and they like to get the ball forward quickly and try and score as many goals as possible. They're a lot of fun, and as well as being a dark horse for the tournament they should be favoured by the neutrals.

Formation-wise, it's probable that they'll play a fairly straightforward 4-4-2, vaguely reminiscent of Atletico Madrid if you were watching their escapades this season, looking to keep a fairly solid midfield and use width and their two strikers to get the job done. It's simple, but effective, and it can be beautiful, and it'll be very difficult to stop.

Which brings us to Greece. Greece have actually won a major tournament, incredibly - Euro 2004 - and they did so by playing the most boring football imaginable, scoring their goals from set-pieces, and defending like crazy. They're quite a horrible side, but they're only playing up to their strengths. They like to defend because they're good at it.

That level of defensive organisation will have to be good here, because this game is almost certainly going to be attack vs. defence. If Greece score, it'll be from a set-piece, and they probably won't be too concerned if they don't as long as Colombia don't either. Whether they can hold out for 90 minutes is debatable, but they'll certainly have a go at it.

Colombia's stars

WIth  Falcao absent, Colombia still have plenty of stars to choose from. Teofilo Gutierrez is a hugely exciting forward, while Jackson Martinez is a prolific goalscorer too. Add in tricky winger Victor Ibarbo, playmaking wonderkid Juan Fernando Quintero, and the equally-silky James Rodriguez, and they have a lot of talent in their side.

In defence and midfield, the team isn't blessed with World-Class players, but they do have a lot of solid options there, with no real weak spots. They also have the young centre-back Eder Balanta from River Plate, and if Football Manager 2014 is to be believed, he will soon become one of the best defenders in the world.

Greece's stars

Well...we could say Kostas Mitroglou, who can score a lot of goals, but then he got injured, moved to Fulham and got relegated. So, yes - Giorgios Samaras, Celtic forward, come on down. You are officially the star of this team. Samaras is a very odd and amusing player. He's basically like a really terrible version of Zlatan Ibrahimovic. He takes too many touches, runs down blind alleys, has mindblowing moments of stupidity, falls over, misses sitters... but he is still capable of being weirdly effective in the right circumstances.

But the real talent in this Greece side is, unsurprisingly, at centre-back. There, they have Sokratis Papastathopoulos, Vasilis Torosidis, and a bunch of other very solid defenders who are very much no-nonsense players. Exciting? No. Effective? certainly.

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