Radamel Falcao scored his first World Cup goal as Colombia got their tournament in Russia up and running with an impressive victory that ended a lacklustre Poland side’s hopes of reaching the last 16.
Yerry Mina nodded in James Rodriguez’s cross shortly before half-time to put the South Americans ahead.
Falcao, who missed the finals four years ago with injury, then broke through in the second half before driving a low strike into the far corner and Juan Cuadrado capped off a fine team performance with an accomplished finish after racing on to James’ sublime ball behind the Poland defence.
It was a much improved performance by Colombia following the disappointing 2-1 defeat by Japan in their Group H opener and will give their fans hope they can at least match their run to the quarter-finals in 2014.
In contrast, this was another disappointing display by Poland, who lost to Senegal in their group opener.
Robert Lewandowski, making his World Cup debut in Russia, struggled with a lack of service throughout, the Bayern Munich striker going closest in the final few minutes when a long-range effort was tipped over by David Ospina.
Poland cannot now catch either Japan or Senegal, who have four points from two games. Colombia have three points and play Senegal on Thursday knowing victory could secure top spot.
Lewandowski fails to shine on World Cup debut
Russia 2018 is Poland’s first World Cup finals appearance in 12 years, but rather than grasping the opportunity and making their mark, they went out with a whimper.
Lewandowski scored an incredible 16 goals during qualifying – one more than Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo – but he was unable to carry that form into the tournament.
A change in formation may have contributed to that. Having frequently played 4-4-2 in qualifying Poland lined up 3-4-3 against Colombia and it was clearly a formation in which Lewandowski did not feel comfortable. He often found himself isolated and having to drop back into midfield to help build attacks.
At 29, this may have been the Bayern Munich striker’s last chance to make his mark at a World Cup.