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World Cup: Toothless Japan seek answers

Japan goalkeeper Eiji Kawashima warned on Friday that the team needs a new attitude after a stalemate with Greece left them in danger of an early World Cup exit.

ITU, Brazil: Japan goalkeeper Eiji Kawashima warned on Friday that the team needs a new attitude after a stalemate with Greece left them in danger of an early World Cup exit.

Alberto Zaccheroni's men failed to fire against the 2004 European champions on Thursday even when their opponents were reduced to 10 men and their destiny is now out of their hands.

The disappointing 0-0 draw followed defeat in the first game to Ivory Coast, in which the Africans came from behind after Keisuke Honda gave his side an early lead.

Although Japan dominated possession against 10-man Greece in Natal, they were unable to find a way through a stubborn rearguard action and must now beat already-qualified Colombia to have any chance of reaching the last 16.

"We are of course disappointed because we really wanted to win," said Kawashima after the team returned to their Itu training base.

"But now we have to face the next game and we all know that we have to win the next game so we have to change our mind."

The Standard Liege player dismissed suggestions that Japan's task would be easier because Colombia have already qualified for the knockout stages.

"I don't think so. It's also going to be a tough game for us because Colombia are strong enough and they have quality players," he said.

The 31-year-old said it was too easy to pin the team's problems solely on a lack of firepower in front of goal.

"If you look just at the result we can say so, but always there's the opponent against us so yesterday also they defended very well, very tight in the space so also we have to see how the opponent is playing."

Colombia have six points after two victories, with Ivory Coast second in Group C on three points. Japan and Greece both have a single point, though the Europeans have an inferior goal difference.

Zaccheroni bemoaned his side's inability to bury their chances while Honda criticised the team's lack of creative spark.

"We lack ideas," Japan's bleach-blond talisman told local media. "We tried to attack but we just can't put the ball in the back of the net."

Striker Yoshito Okubo missed an open goal in the second half, underlining Japan's woes while Manchester United playmaker Shinji Kagawa was relegated to the bench, compounding his pain after a season of struggles.

The Blue Samurai were set a quarter-final target by the country's football chief, which would better their last-16 showing in South Africa four years ago.

They face Colombia on June 24 in Cuiaba while Greece take on Ivory coast on the same day in Fortaleza.

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