Greece and Japan are both stuck on another goalless draw in the tournament, scoring 0 – 0 at Estadio das Dunas in Natal Thursday.
Japan was dominating in terms of possession all throughout the game which topped at around 68% compared to Greece’s 32%, but efforts to score a goal seemed to be difficult for the Japanese as they battered through the Greek defenses.
Greece found itself in a dilemma after Kostas Katsouranis received a red card after a foul on Makoto Hasebe, sending him off the field and forcing the team to play the rest of the match with a ten-man team.
Atsuo Uchida of Japan tells ABC news that “he could sense Greece building a wall around the goal as soon as Katsouranis was sent off.”
“I had a bad feeling about it. It happens a lot in soccer, when a team goes down to 10, they know exactly what they need to do. And that also happens to be exactly Greece’s way to fighting – to fight by defending,” Uchida said.
Greece manages to hang on through the second half of the match despite Japan’s higher possession rate during the match.
“My players were brilliant,” said Greece coach Fernando Santos in ABC News. “They worked hard after the red card. Without the red card we probably would have won the game.”
Alberto Zaccheroni, Japan’s manager, comments in BBC News: “We played too slowly. This is not a positive result. We absolutely needed to win.”
Both Japan and Greece have to win their final match in Group C if they are to advance to the next round of the tournament.
Japan faces Colombia, who defeated Ivory Coast 2 – 1, at Arena Pantanal in Cuiaba. On the other hand, Greece matches up against Ivory Coast at Estadio Castelao in Fortaleza. Both matches will be held on June 24, Tuesday.