June 19, 2014 8:27 pm

WORLD CUP: Scoreless draw keeps Japan and Greece alive in Group C

Greece's Jose Holebas, right, pulls down Japan's Yoshito Okubo while chasing the ball during the group C World Cup soccer match between Japan and Greece at the Arena das Dunas in Natal, Brazil, Thursday, June 19, 2014.

AP Photo/Shuji Kajiyama

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.

SEE MORE: Complete scores and group standings

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.

© The Canadian Press, 2014

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