World Cup: Scoreless draw keeps Japan and Greece alive

  • By Jim Vertuno Associated Press
  • Thursday, June 19, 2014 6:01pm
  • SportsSports

NATAL, Brazil — Reduced to 10 men after captain Costas Katsouranis was sent off in the 38th minute with his second booking, Greece held on for a 0-0 draw with Japan on Thursday that kept both alive in Group C and sent rival Colombia through to the knockout round of the World Cup.

Both teams inserted new strikers in search of goals and a first victory, but ultimately the main objective was survival and both achieved that with one match left in group play. Japan would have been eliminated with a loss.

Once Katsouranis was sent off after a rough challenge on Makoto Hasebe, Greece withdrew into a defensive setup and held firm. Greece surrendered three goals in a loss to Colombia, but even short-handed was better organized against Japan and avoided any critical mistakes.

Japan pressed the attack after halftime and had several chances to score.

The best came in the 68th minute when Shinji Kagawa played a long pass over the top to Atsuto Uchida, who sent it back across the middle to Yoshito Okubo, who blasted the volley over the net.

Greece goalkeeper Orestis Karnezis also was forced to make a diving save in injury time to preserve the draw and the point for Greece.

Greece was determined to turn around its dismal scoring history in the World Cup — 18 goals conceded against just two scored — inserting Kostas Mitroglou up front. But Mitroglou’s best effort was an early volley that spun off his foot and he didn’t even make it to halftime.

After taking an elbow in the side in the 30th minute, Mitroglou collapsed to the ground. He got up and walked off under his own power but soon determined he couldn’t continue and was taken off for Theofanis Gekas in the 35th minute.

Things got worse for Greece just moments later when Katsouranis was sent off. Greece retreated into its half of the field for most of the second half.

Japan, which had been beaten up in a physical matchup with Ivory Coast in a 2-1 opening loss, once again had to deal with a bigger, stronger and much taller opponent.

Coach Japan coach Alberto Zaccheroni dropped Kagawa from the starting lineup in surprise move, putting veteran striker Okubo up front with Europe-based star Keisuke Honda.

Okubo had one of Japan’s best chances to score in the first half but sent his header over the crossbar in the 33rd minute.

More in Sports

Edgar rockets up Hall of Fame ballot as DHs gain respect

Boosted by new-age analysis, the M’s legend has risen from an afterthought to the brink of election.

Results of Cortez Kennedy’s autopsy released

Medical examiner: Former Seahawk and Pro Football Hall of Famer died of ‘congestive heart failure’

Hall-of-Fame voter says Edgar Martinez worthy of induction

The Mariner great is one of 10 players ex-Herald baseball writer Kirby Arnold voted for this year

Jr. Silvertips try to nail down league title

Everett’s 16U midget team can clinch the crown this weekend in Minnesota.

NHL wants Seattle, but is the Emerald City a hockey town?

Seattle is the biggest market in the country without a winter sports team.

Police will not release suicide note in Hilinski’s death

Police say the WSU quarterback shot himself last week in his apartment

Sounders loan midfielder Aaron Kover to Los Angeles FC

The Garfield High School graduate appeared in 44 games over four season with Seattle

‘Braveheart’ helps UW men’s basketball salvage road trip

The film rejuvenated the Huskies, who beat Colorado on Saturday after Thursday’s loss at Utah.

Monroe High’s Monique Fierke looks for the basket during drills at practice on Thursday, Jan. 18, 2018 in Monroe, Wa. Fierke is the leading scorer for the Bearcats. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
Q&A with Monroe’s Monique Fierke

It didn’t take long for Monique Fierke to make a good impression… Continue reading

Most Read