Left back Pablo Armero's early goal gave Colombia a 1-0 lead at halftime against Greece in Saturday's Group C opener.

Armero squeezed in the shot in the fifth minute after midfielder James Rodriguez let Juan Cuadrado's cross roll across the danger area. Armero's shot took a deflection off Greece center back Costas Manolas, leaving goalkeeper Orestis Karnezis stranded as the ball rolled over the line.

It is Colombia's first World Cup appearance in 16 years and the goal sent the overwhelmingly pro-Colombia crowd into a frenzy.

Greece nearly struck back moments later, but midfielder Panagiotis Kone's shot curved just wide of goal at Mineirao Stadium in Belo Horizonte. Moments before the break, Kone had a powerful shot well saved by Orestis Karnezis.