FOOTBALL NEWS

20/06/2014 00:56, Report by Mark Froggatt

Kagawa's Japan held

Manchester United's Shinji Kagawa was left frustrated on Thursday after his cameo appearance for Japan could not prevent a 0-0 draw with 10-men Greece.

The Reds midfielder was named on the bench ahead of a timid first half in which Japan controlled most of the possession without creating many goal scoring chances, except for a couple of long-range efforts from 1860 Munich striker Yuya Ozako.

Konstantinos Katsouranis was booked for a challenge that could have seriously injured Makoto Hasebe in the 26th minute, before the Greek captain was given his marching orders for another petulant foul that earned his second yellow card just before half-time.

Yashuhito Endo's introduction as a half-time substitute improved the game and added some urgency for the Blue Samurai, but they still lacked quality in the final third until Kagawa was sent on in the 56th minute as Alberto Zaccheroni searched for a breakthrough.

Shinji’s invention led to Yoshito Okubo missing an excellent opportunity by punting his shot into row Z from the angle.  Greece tried to counter as the clock ticked on, but appeared to assert more energy into wasting time with one eye clearly on the draw.

The result leaves Kagawa's Japan third in Group C with one point and needing to beat leaders Colombia on Tuesday, if they are to reach the knockout rounds.

More: Reds duo lose to Uruguay

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