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 keeps both alive in Group C and sends rival Colombia to the next round of the World Cup.
Both teams inserted new strikers in search of goals and a first victory, but ultimately the goal was survival and both did that with one match left in group play. Japan would have been eliminated with a loss.
Once Katsouaranis 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.