Japan, Croatia play out 0-0 draw
Impressive goalkeeping on either side held both the teams from taking a lead despite numerous clear chances. Schedule | Teams | Results | Photos | Gamesindia Updated: Jun 18, 2006 21:35 IST
Japan and Croatia played to a 0-0 draw on Sunday, a result that leaves both teams in danger of failing to advance at the World Cup.
Both teams had numerous chances to win the Group F match but solid goalkeeping on both sides left the teams with just one point with one match remaining.
Japan faces defending champion Brazil in its final match while Croatia plays Australia.
Croatia came close in the 54th minute with Niko Kranjcar lunging for a pass from Ivan Klasnic and missing wide of the post.
Trying to boost his offensive chances, Japan coach Zico sent Junichi Inamoto in to start the second half in place of Takashi Fukunishi. Keiji Tamada came on in the 61st minute, replacing Atsushi Yanagisawa.
Japan came close early in the second half.
Akira Kaji sent a cross to Yanagiswa, who redirected the pass wide of the post.
Croatia had the better chances in the first half and would have taken the lead if not for several good saves from Japan goalkeeper Yoshikatsu Kawaguchi.
Japan captain Tsuneyasu Miyamoto took Dado Prso down in the area in the 21st minute, drawing a penalty and a yellow card.
But Kawaguchi denied Darijo Srna from the penalty spot, diving to his left to stop the low shot.
Kranjcar hit the crossbar with a blast from the top of the area in the 28th.
Japan lost its opening match to Australia 3-1. Croatia lost to Brazil 1-0. Japan's best chance in the opening half came when Hidetoshi Nakata rifled a long-range blast in the 37th minute that goalkeeper Stipe Pletikosa got a hand on after diving to his left.