Despite the importance of a win for both teams’ qualification hopes, the first half provided very few chances for either side. On 38 minutes, the match looked to have turned into Japan’s favour, after Greece was reduced to 10 men.
Captain Konstantinos Katsouranis received a yellow card for a challenge on Makoto Hasebe, a foul that occurred just 12 minutes after the Greek captain received his first yellow. Yuya Osako was that man this time who was fouled by Katsouranis, another late challenge.
Japan had an extra man, and the onslaught didn’t arrive from the Asian side. Greece were keeping their opponents for the majority of the second half.
It looked like Japan’s best chance was wasted on 67 minutes through Yoshito Okubo. The ball feel to his feet on the left of the six yard box, but the striker ballooned his effort high and wide of the empty goal.
That it was, Japan were pushing more and more men forward as that match wore on, but there were no clear chances created and had to settle for a point.
Greece will be pleased with a point after playing most of the match with 10 men.
Japan and Greece however will need to improve a great deal, if they’re to challenge Columbia and Ivory Coast respectively in the final round of Group C.