FIFA CONFEDERATIONS CUP

Waldstadion, Frankfurt, Germany

Referee: Herbert Fandel

* Local time based on your geographic location.

0 - 1

FT

Japan

  • Masashi Oguro 76'

Greece 0-1 Japan: In contention

FRANKFURT, June 19 (Reuters) - Substitute Masashi Oguro pounced with 14 minutes to go to give Japan a 1-0 win over Greece on Sunday and keep the Asian champions in contention at the Confederations Cup.

Japan had looked set to pay a high price for bad finishing,

with strikers Atsushi Yanagisawa and Keiji Tamada guilty of a

series of appalling misses in a one-sided game.

But Zico's team showed patience as well as masterly

technique and they took the lead when Oguro ran on to a pass

from Shunsuke Nakamura and tucked the ball past Antonis

Nikopolidis.

Angelos Haristeas brought one good save from keeper

Yoshikatsu Kawaguchi with six minutes to go but otherwise Japan

were untroubled by a disappointing Greece display.

"We were asleep today," said Greece's German coach Otto

Rehhagel. "You couldn't win a pot of flowers playing like that."

Victory gives Japan three points from two Group B matches,

while Greece are left without points.

Brazil and Mexico, with three points each, were due to meet

in the late game in Hanover.

"It's very satisfying to beat the European champions," said

Japan coach Zico. "We created a lot of chances quite easily."

Japan's midfield carved through the Greek defence with the

same panache shown by Brazil in their 3-0 win over the European

champions on Thursday.

Japan do not possess a centre-forward of the calibre of

Adriano, however.

Greece, missing the influential Theodoros Zagorakis in

midfield, stuck to a clear gameplan at the start, launching high

balls up for Haristeas and Zisis Vryzas.

That tactic had caused Japan problems in their 2-1 defeat by

Mexico but they defended much better this time and were soon

troubling Greece on the counter-attack.

Tamada was too eager to shoot after being put into space on

the edge of the area in the eighth minute and five minutes later

he blasted wide from an even better position on the right.

Kaji Akira sent a fierce shot into the side netting in the

19th minute and two minutes later Tamada shot tamely wide after

popping up on the left.

Greece abandoned all thoughts of attacking themselves for

the remainder of the half and concentrated instead on trying to

blunt their opponents in midfield.

They were almost entirely unsuccessful, as Nakamura and

Hidetoshi Nakata ripped through their defences.

Tamada was set running on goal with another precise pass

from Nakamura but his shot was well wide.

A couple of minutes later, it was Nakata setting up

Yanagisawa with a clever ball but the forward's chip was weakly

struck and Angelos Basinas was able to clear.

Chances continued to come thick and fast for Japan in the

second half, with Greece remaining utterly bemused as to how to

cope with their precise passing.

Oguro came on for Tamada in the 64th minute and he showed a

far cooler head than his colleague when exchanging passes with

Nakamura before supplying a calm finish under pressure.

Scoring Summary

  • Greece
  • Japan
 

Match Stats

  • Greece
  • Japan
6(2) Shots (on goal) 12(4)
8 Fouls 14
6 Corner kicks 8
1 Offsides 0
0% Time of Possession 0%
1 Yellow Cards 2
0 Red Cards 0
2 Saves 3

Teams

  • Greece
  • Japan
Substitutes
Substitutions
Yellow Cards