4:15 PM UTC
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5:00 PM UTC
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Ivory Coast
5:00 PM UTC
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New Zealand
6:35 AM UTC Mar 28, 2017
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Pekerman: This is how we planned it

Colombia coach Jose Pekerman hailed his young team after his side secured a 3-0 win over Greece in their Group C opener on Friday.

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No Colombia players had ever played in a World Cup before, with the country last qualifying in 1998, when they failed to progress out of the group.

"It was a good debut with players who had never played a World cup. It's a big satisfaction," said Pekerman.  "This is how we planned this match.

"Some things turned out the way we wanted, some things didn't, but we were very concentrated and showed that we're here to play a good World Cup.''

Pekerman added: "This is a fantastic result for the whole of Colombia because there was a lot of emotion among the fans today. Nothing is decided yet, but we went about our task in the right way.''

Pablo Armero gave the South Americans a dream start with a deflected opener after just five minutes and Teofilo Gutierrez -- in for the injured Radamel Falcao -- doubled the lead on 58 minutes.

Match 5
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It was Colombia's youngest starter, 22-year-old Monaco star James Rodriguez, who scored their third and final goal in injury time.

Rodriguez said the result showed Colombia was on the right path.

"It's a good start, but we have to be calm for what's ahead, which will be even more difficult,'' he said, looking ahead at Group C matches against Ivory Coast and Japan.

Rodriguez added: "I'm happy because we've won the game and because I scored, that was a dream come true for me.

"Greece are a strong team defensively, but we stayed solid and patient enough to wait for spaces to open up going forward.

"We scored an early goal and that helped us as well. Now we have two more games and we have to show the same responsibility and will to win as we did here.''


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