Despite playing more than half the match with a man advantage, Japan couldn't find a way to solve Greece's defense, and were forced to settle for a scoreless draw in Natal. The Samurai Blue certainly had their chances to grab three points, but poor finishing doomed them in the end.
Japan had the better play in the opening 20 minutes, but it wasn't until near the end of that time that they finally generated a good chance on goal. It came in the 18th minute when Yūya Ōsako took a one-touch pass from Yoshito Ōkubo near the top of the Greece box, and fired a low shot that was smothered by Orestis Karnezis.
Ōsako was back two minutes later, and nearly gave Japan the lead, curling his shot from 20-yards out just wide of the far post.
The first notable moment for Greece in the first half came in the 35th minute when striker Kostas Mitroglou left the match with a injury to his side. He'd picked up the knock a few minutes earlier after an aerial challenge, and was unable to continue through the pain. He was replaced by Theofanis Gekas.
The second came in the 38th minute when Greek captain Kostas Katsouranis took out Makoto Hasebe with a late, sliding tackle. The match referee wasted no time showing his second yellow card, leaving Greece to finish the match with 10 men.
In the 69th minute, Japan got the best chance of the game for either side up that point, but still couldn't break the scoreless draw. Shinji Kagawa found Ōkubo all alone at the far post with an excellent pass, but the Kawasaki Frontale man only managed to mis-hit his shot, sending it wide of the post when it seemed virtually impossible for him not to score.
Two minutes later Atsuto Uchida missed a great chance as well, pushing a short range shot wide of the post.
The goal simply wouldn't come, though, leaving both teams with a point for the match.
Japan: Kawashima, Nagatomo, Yoshida,Konno, Uchida, Yamaguchi, Hasebe (Endo 46'), Ōkubo, Honda, Okazaki, Ōsako (Kagawa 57')
Greece: Karnezis, Holebas, Papastathopoulos, Manolas, Torosidis, Kone (Salpingidis 81'), Katsouranis, Maniatis, Samaras, Mitroglou (Gekas 35'), Fetfazidis (Karagounis 41')