"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.

Japan can qualify for the second round only by beating Colombia in Cuiaba on Tuesday and hoping that the outcome of Greece's match against Cote d'Ivoire works in its favor. But if the evidence of two dismal performances in Brazil so far is anything to go by, the Samurai Blue may as well pack their bags now.