June 19, 2014

Japan 0, Greece 0: Playing even more boring and defensive than usual, thanks to a first half red card that left it shorthanded for most of the match, the Greeks held on for a scoreless draw, the third of the tournament, and the 7th time in 8 games that Greece has been shut out in its World Cup history.  The Blue Samurai had almost all the scoring chances and more than two-thirds of the possession, but couldn't put the ball in the back of the net.

Because of the evening result, Group C is the first group for which we know for certain that all four teams have a shot of advancing to the next round entering the third game next Tuesday.  Columbia has clinched a spot in the next round, and seems almost certain to have won the group barring an out-of-character collapse against Japan.  The Ivory Coast will advance with a win against Greece, or a draw combined with a Columbian win, draw, or one-goal loss.*  Greece advances with a win over les Elephants and a Columbian win or draw; Japan has the mixed blessing of getting to play a team, Columbia, that has already punched its ticket, but needs a win and some help from a floundering Greek squad.

*provided the one-goal loss to Japan does not also feature a lot of goals....  

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