Greece arrives late

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Greek supporters show off their face paint before the group C World Cup soccer match between Greece and Ivory Coast at the Arena Castelao in Fortaleza, Brazil, Tuesday, June 24, 2014. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

Greece arrives late to the party and dumps the Ivory Coast out of the World Cup

In what was expected to be a comfortable final match for the Ivory Coast, Greece managed to go through to the second round for the first time in their history, after Georgios Samaras won and scored a penalty in extra time after a trip from Giovanni Sio.

Ivory Coast, needing only a draw to qualify, looked to have done just that in the 74th minute after the imposing Wilfried Bony equalised from a square ball by Gervinho, after a fantastic Yaya Toure pass. Earlier, Greece had opened the scoring from a counter attack by Andreas Samaris, after Cheick Tiote was caught in possession.

Ivory Coast were in control for the majority of the match, but a solid showing by their defense and in particular Sokratis Papastathopoulos kept the scores even. Greece started to up their tempo late into the second half, with several near misses, before Samaras finally breaking the deadlock deep into extra time with his penalty.

Greece now face the gain killer Costa Rica, but will fancy their chances of reaching the quarter finals (a repeat of Euro 2004 perhaps??).
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In the other group C match, Colombia cruised past Japan 4 – 1, with Jackson Martinez picking up a brace. Japan have been sub-par at the tournament, and could only managed two goals and a draw despite a talented attacking squad. Colombia, have however looked comfortable, and will face Uruguay in the second round, which is likely to be a lively encounter.

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