Colombia signal South American World Cup intent

Sat Jun 14, 2014 4:07pm EDT
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By Rex Gowar

(Reuters) - Colombia's emphatic 3-0 win over Greece on Saturday, hot on the heels of Chile's win over Australia, shows South American teams' World Cup ambitions do not stop at Brazil and Argentina.

On their own continent, the likes of Colombia, Chile and Ecuador will be looking to at least emulate South America's four berths in the 2010 quarter-finals in South Africa.

Then it was Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay and Paraguay though only Oscar Tabarez's Uruguayans progressed into the last four but here South America will want more.

Colombia made light of Radamel Falcao's absence through injury with Teofilo Gutierrez stepping into the advanced striker's role from his position as roving partner to Falcao and was rewarded poaching the second goal in the six-yard box.

"We are on the rise, we have lots of confidence, we mustn't lose sight of our objective which is to play good football," "Teo" Gutierrez said after the Group C clash in Belo Horizonte.

Jose Pekerman's team, seamlessly continuing where they left off in the qualifiers where they finished second to Argentina in the South American group, opened with a trademark first goal.

Juan Cuadrado stretched the Greek defense on the right and James Rodriguez stepped over his low cross for left back Pablo Armero to fire home.

Full backs Armero and Camilo Zuniga on the right are key to Colombia's wide, attacking game while Rodriguez, who steered home the third goal in added time, prowls the center prompting or breaking into the penalty area.   Continued...

Colombia's Pablo Armero (2nd L) celebrates his goal against Greece with his teammates during their 2014 World Cup Group C soccer match at the Mineirao stadium in Belo Horizonte June 14, 2014.   REUTERS/Sergio Perez