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

Snohomish’s 1970 boys basketball team headlines Hall class

The team will be among those inducted into the Snohomish County Sports Hall of Fame Wednesday.

Cascade’s Kolomiyets tops Jackson’s Vimawala in tennis showdown

The Bruins’ star beat his Timberwolves counterpart in straight sets in a matchup of the region’s best.

Poll: Help us plan this week’s high school football coverage

This week The Herald covers HS football at Glacier Peak/Monroe, and Jackson/Lake… Continue reading

UW receiver McClatcher likely out for season

Federal Way product broke his ankle during the Huskies’ win over Colorado.

Carroll: Seahawks at forefront of ‘extraordinary’ times

The Seattle coach spoke on what his players believe is their duty as pro athletes with a platform.

Monday’s prep results and links

Here are Monday’s prep results and links: BOYS TENNIS Wesco 4A Kamiak… Continue reading

Granite Falls volleyball building from grassroots level

The Granite Falls volleyball team has won a combined 11 matches over… Continue reading

Multi-sport athletes fueling Mountlake Terrace cross country

Mountlake Terrace cross country coach Todd Weber said he believes both of… Continue reading

Young players stepping up for Glacier Peak tennis

There’s a different air around the Glacier Peak boys tennis team this… Continue reading

Most Read