Japan players admitted they were thrown by the first-half red card of Greece captain Konstantinos Katsouranis in Thursday's lackluster draw, a result that has put the Asian champions on the brink of elimination.

Katsouranis was sent off in the 38th minute for a second booking, seemingly giving Alberto Zaccheroni's side the advantage, and it did: at least in terms of ball possession.

But the PAOK midfielder's early exit forced the Greeks to pack the box, making life more difficult for Japan which couldn't find a way to penetrate the thickened defense.