Greece vs Japan. Both teams were coming off a loss in their first game. Both teams needed a positive result.
In the first game, Greece had to overcome a crowd that was against them. It was more of the same tonight, as there were thousands of Japanese fans who also had the support of the hometown Brazilians and leftover USA fans from the other night.
Arena das Dunas
The game started with the teams trading a couple chances and not much action otherwise. Greece had to use a substitution early as Konstantinos Mitroglou got injured and couldn’t continue. Things got seemingly worse when Kostas Katsouranis was given a second yellow card and sent off just before the halftime whistle. It was totally uncalled for for the captain to put his team down a man in such an important game.
Greece could have easily packed it in, but they fought hard and were even able to generate a few corners, although generally they were unable to put together any quality offensive chances. Japan dominated possession but Greece kept the game level to earn a scoreless draw. That is all they needed to do to stay alive in the tournament.
After the final whistle, Greek fans were smiling and celebrating as if it was a win while Japanese fans were visibly angry and rueing their missed opportunities.
Personally, I don’t think I’ve ever been happier to attend a scoreless draw. I’m proud of the way they played under the circumstances and hope this gives the team some momentum and something to believe in for the next game against Ivory Coast – a must-win.