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“Believe in miracles,” ran the headline of one sports newspaper after Japan’s 0-0 draw with Greece left its World Cup hopes hanging by a thread, but simply salvaging pride from a bitterly disappointing campaign looks a more realistic ambition.

Japan failed to take advantage of a 38th-minute red card for Greek captain Konstantinos Katsouranis in its second match of the tournament on Thursday, struggling to make an impact as Greece held on for a point that took the Asian champions’ World Cup destiny out of their own hands.

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