Brazil 2014 World Cup | Japan vs. Greece

This post will continually update from 11:00PM onwards :-).

As the game between Japan and Greece gets underway, and as I round another energetic night to a close, the atmosphere for all England fans like myself will be hotting up, which means the match gets an all time high to see who wins the match. As always, I will be using BBC Sport to copy any quotes that football commentators put up into this post, and I will also add my own thoughts into this post of what I think about the match as it unfolds.

Sorry about the long wait, my apologies…

Japan 0-0 Greece

Jonathan Jurejko: “Bright start from Japan – who are the reigning Asian champions don’t forget. Hotaru Yamaguchi gets a glimpse of goal and spanks a 20-yard shot straight into the body of a Greek defender.”

Hotaru Yamaguchi of Japan tangles with a Greece defender
Credit: BBC Sport

Former England Defender Martin Keown, Match of the Day analyst: “I fully expect Japan to be the team to go for the jugular in this one. Honda is the go-to player. I’d like to see him playing higher up the pitch but they want him in there pulling the strings. Giorgios Samaras doesn’t want to get back to protect and leaves his full-back exposed.”

Jonathan Jurejko: “Greece striker Konstantinos Mitroglou starts up front – a rare sighting of the Fulham man. He was cursed by injuries after his £12m move to Craven Cottage in January, and lacks sharpness as he skews horribly wide. Yuya Osaka starts up front for Japan, looking to add to his tally of three goals in eight appearances for the brilliantly-nicknamed Blue Samarai. But he is hustled out of play by a Greek defender and Japan’s attack is blunted. Greece midfielder Panagiotis Kone looks razor sharp – and I’m not talking about his short back and sides. The Bologna man produces a trademark burst from deep, letting fly with a low shot that skids off the wet Natal turf. Japan keeper Eiji Kawashima gathers at the second attempt.”

Fulham's Konstantinos Mitroglou in action for Greece against Japan
Credit: BBC Sport
Japan v Greece
Credit: BBC Sport
Greece team
Credit: BBC Sport

Andrew (via text message): What does Shinji Kagawa have to do to get a start!? He’s constantly on the bench, watching games and having no impact. It must drive him absolutely crazy!

Jonathan Jurejko: “By the way, if you are a keen Keisuke Honda fan then you can watch his every single move. Granted it sounds a little stalkerish – but I assure you it is totally legal. Go to our shiny blue ‘Live coverage’ tab at the top of this page and click on the Japanese player cam. Then you can devote the next 15 minutes to Honda and Honda only. All Japan at the moment as they dominate the ‘passes completed’ column. But they haven’t made any of these count though, until AC Milan man Keisuke Honda tries to rev up the action. He lofts a ball towards Yuya Osako – who is offside. Drab start. Japan stick it into second gear as they put some dirt on Greece keeper Orestis Karnezis‘s gloves. Neat build-up play ends in Yuya Osako drilling a low shot towards the left corner. Meat and drink for Karnezis. Ooof! Yuya Ozako is the man of the moment. The 1860 Munich striker comes close with a curling shot which swerves and dips past the wrong side of the post. He’s married to a Japanese model, you know. The lucky devil.”

Martin Keown: “Japan need to move the ball a bit quicker and it would be good to see Keisuke Honda on the shoulder of the last man. Japan just haven’t really got going yet. They’re both showing each other an awful lot of respect but it was a wonderful effort from Yuya Osako. He makes it all himself and takes it on from distance and it looked like it was going to end up in the top corner.”

Twitter Debate: #bbcworldcup

Shane: No Hiroshi Kiyotake or Shinji Kagawa in the Japan team means few creative outlets. Keisuke Honda can’t do it all himself, as much as he’d like to.

Jonathan Jurejko: “Ouch! Referee Joel Aguilar dips his hand into his pocket for the first time as Greece captain Konstantinos Katsouranis gets out an early reducer. He rakes his studs down the back of a Japan player and earns himself a yellow card. Japan’s Keishuke Honda licks his lips as he sizes up a free kick on the edge of the Greece area. He whips it over the Greek wall but it’s at a comfortable height for keeper Orestis Karnezis. But it isn’t a comfortable gather for Karnezis whose greasy gloves collect at the second attempt.”

Martin Keown: “It’s three lives and you’re out and it’s cagey. I expect Japan to go on and win it but I’d like to see them do more. Japan with Yasuhito Endo in the team are a better team. Honda can play that bit further forward and they miss that imagination from him. It’s just not flowing at the moment.”

Jonathan Jurejko: “Japan continue to threaten as forward Yoshito Okubu leaps like a salmon to meet a left-wing cross. But he can’t direct it goalwards and the ball flies over the Greek crossbar. Fulham fans have seen little of injury-hit striker Konstantinos Mitroglou – and any latecomers tuning in now to see a glimpse of the £12m man will be sadly disappointed. He looks ashen-faced as he trudges off to be replaced by Theofanis Gekas after going down following an aerial challenge.”


Martin Keown: “It’s ridiculous for the captain just a total lack of discipline. He lunged in and it’s not the worst challenge you’ve seen but he’s late and if you’re on a yellow it’s a real risk. He’s left his team in an awful lot of trouble here.”

Jonathan Jurejko: “Change of personnel from the Greeks after Katsouris’ meltdown. Georgios Karagounis – another recognisable face for Fulham fans – comes on to sit in the middle of the Greece midfield, with Iaonnis Fetfatzidis the unlucky man to be hooked.”


Twitter Debate: #bbcworldcup

Leythblue: Greece down to 10 now, maybe this may liven up a bit! Nearly as bad as England!

James: A referee not afraid to brandish a second yellow in the first half. Where were you two hours ago?

Jonathan Jurejko: “Going down to 10 men seems to revitalised the Greeks. Vasileios Torosidis, seconds after forcing a flying save from Japan keeper Eiji Kawashima, nods another effort wide.”


Martin Keown: “How cheeky would that have been if that had gone in! Certainly worth an effort, the Japan goalkeeper had his back to him.”

Twitter Debate: #bbcworldcup

Andy: Japan are comfortable in possession and move the ball well, just lack that killer instinct in final third.

Jonathan Jurejko: “Five minutes into the second half and there’s nothing to report. Nothing at all. Wait – here’s a chance. Japan win a free-kick 30 yards out. Yashuhito Endo, a half-time substitute for the Blue Samurai, swings it into the mixer but it’s too strong for his waiting team-mates.”


Jonathan Jurejko: “Greece are trying their best to wrestle (literally) Honduras’s tag of ‘The Dirtiest Team at the 2014 World Cup’. Giorgios Samaras is the latest culprit and he doesn’t even look ashamed of hacking down a Japanese opponent. Booked.”


Jonathan Jurejko: “It’s been an ‘annus horribilis’ for Japan midfielder Shinji Kagawa, who could hardly buy a game for Manchester United last season. He found himself dropped after the opening defeat against Ivory Coast, but here he comes to prove a point. Yuya Osaka is the man hooked. Theofanis Gekas is one of the shortest men in the Greek squad, but his lack of height doesn’t stop him getting above the Japan defence at a corner. Unfortunately for the ex-Leicester man, Japan keeper Eiji Kawashima is equal to it.”

Martin Keown: “Theofanis Gekas gets up fantastically well, Eiji Kawashima though showed great reflexes. Gekas’ header just came slightly off a Japan defender, which took a little bit of sting out of it. Greece are just looking to keep it tight and grab a goal if they can.”

Jonathan Jurejko: “The Greeks are not known for their attacking endeavour, having failed to score in six defeats in their last seven World Cup matches. Bizarrely they have shown more intent since going down to 10 men, a right-wing cross easily gathered by Japan stopper Orestis Karnezis”

Twitter Debate: #bbcworldcup

Andrew Tarpey: Referee needs to toughen up here, he’s just falling for the Greek players’ time-wasting and giving too many soft free kicks.

Jonathan Jurejko: “Oh my days – terrible miss from Japan. Yoshito Okubo arrives at the far post to tap a low cross into the empty Greek net. But somehow he manages to skew it over the goal. Go on and stand in the naughty corner with Sergio Busquets, young man. Another Japan attack, another glaring miss. Atsuto Uchida – who became Japan’s youngest World Cup scorer in a 2008 qualifier – has a reputation as a fast, attacking right-back. But he can’t finish for toffee. He slides the ball wide after some awful defending from Greece, who tried to walk the ball out of their area. A Japan penalty? Possibly. Greece centre-half Konstantinos Manolas manhandles Shinji Okazaki just inside his own penalty area but the referee is having none of it. He waves the Japan forward to his feet.”

Martin Keown: “Yoshito Okubo has got to hit the target form there, that is the nearest we have come to a goal, he’s got to put it in and skies it. Sokratis Papastathopoulos can’t clear his lines and Maya Yoshida follows in but he can’t get his foot round it. It’s starting to come now for the Japanese, they have just got to be patient.”

Joe, Stockport (via text message): Talk about Greek tragedy, I’ve never seen such mediocre acting. Thankfully the referee is watching the ball instead of the theatrics.

Jonathan Jurejko: “Greece forward Georgios Samaras isn’t always the most mobile of players, which means our cameraman who is following around the Celtic man on player cam could be in for an easy 15 minutes of work. Then, just as I type that, our lensman is jolted into action. Samaras lurches forward as he tries to meet a whipped cross from the right but can’t get enough of his forehead on the ball.”

Marc, Wolverhampton (via text): Part of me is glad that I never saw Shinji Kagawa play for Borussia Dortmund lest I become afflicted with ‘Shinji syndrome’. Symptoms include failure to see any wrongdoing in Kagawa even though he’s only had a handful of good games in two seasons.

Jonathan Jorejko: “End-to-end stuff as both keepers earn their corn in the dying moments. Don’t know what Greece defender Jose Choelevas is doing up field, but he is denied by Japan stopper Eiji Kawashima. Then, after Vasileios Torosidis concedes a dangerous-looking free-kick, Greece keeper Orestis Karnezis has to be on his toes to stop Yasuhito Endo’s precise strike sneaking into the bottom corner. Japan stick defender Maya Yoshida up front in the Paul Warhurst role, but he is let down by a terrible long ball from team-mate Yuto Nagatomo. Easy pickings for Greece keeper Orestis Karnezis to gather.”





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