Honda frustrated by Japan draw

Japan forward Keisuke Honda has told of his frustration at his side’s failure to defeat Greece in their second World Cup C match on Thursday evening, the Express and Star has reported.

With both sides having lost their opening games, there was plenty of caution on display at the Arena das Dunas in Natal, but the game appeared to swing in Japan’s favour on 38 minutes when Greece captain Kostas Katsouranis was sent off after receiving yellow cards for two rash challenges.

Despite their one-man advantage, Japan found it difficult to breach an organised Greek defence, with Yoshito Okubo firing high over the crossbar from close range with their best chance, following Atsuto Uchida’s pinpoint cross to the far post.

The result left Japan needing to beat already-qualified Colombia in their final group match, of they are to have any chance of making it through to the knockout stages, and Honda has set his sights on winning that encounter in Cuiaba. He said: “Even though Colombia have already qualified, for us the game will be like a final and we’ll be playing for our lives.

“I think that today (Thursday) we made plenty of chances, enough to have scored a goal and taken all three points, which would have left us in a better situation. But unfortunately we fell a touch short with our finishing. We now need to iron out those flaws in our next game and pick up what would be a very important win.”

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