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Dirty Tackle

World Cup Match Report: 10-man Greece holds Japan to 0-0 draw, bores audience

Eric Freeman
Dirty Tackle
Japan's Uchida is fouled by Greece's Samaras during their 2014 World Cup Group C soccer match at the Dunas arena in Nata
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Instant Analysis

The least entertaining match of the tournament so far by some distance. After more than a half-hour with little incident, fans were finally treated to an event when Greek captain Konstantinos Katsouranis received his second yellow card — a questionable one, if we're being honest — in the 38th minute. An extremely reactive side to begin with, Greece fought to grab a point against a Japan side with several notable creators. Though they did make some opportunities, the Japanese failed to score despite holding more than 70 percent of possession and creating several clear-cut chances to end up with a dissatisfying goalless draw. Greece deserved its point, in the sense that it avoided a loss against the odds, but it's hard to congratulate anyone on such a dull display. Let us never speak of it again.

Man of the Match

Japanese attacking midfielder Keisuke Honda earned official honors, which must be some sort of filing error. Greek goalkeeper Orestis Karnezis deserves credit for four saves and marshaling a defense that did not concede, but the real hero was referee Joel Aguilar, who was responsible for the biggest moment of the match and thankfully remembered to blow the final whistle.

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Greece's goalkeeper Orestis Karnezis sits in the net during the group C World Cup soccer match between Japan and Greece at the Arena das Dunas in Natal, Brazil, Thursday, June 19, 2014. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)

Greece's goalkeeper Orestis Karnezis sits in the net during the group C World Cup soccer match between Japan and …

What's Next?

The draw ensures that Group C leader Colombia will head to the Round of 16. With one point apiece, Greece and Japan will attempt to get ahead of second-place Ivory Coast (three points) to move on. Greece would appear to have the best chance with a head-to-head matchup with Les Elephants set for Tuesday afternoon, but it will be without Katsouranis and has yet to score in the competition. With a massive advantage in goal differential, Colombia may opt to take it easy against Japan for rest purposes in the knowledge that it's likely to win the group, which would certainly lend hope. To put it another way, both Greece and Japan will have to get very lucky to play a fourth match.

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Eric Freeman is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at efreeman_ysports@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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