ATHENS (AFP) - Greece and Ukraine were deadlocked at 0-0 after Saturday's first leg of their World Cup play-off at the Olympic Stadium watched by 50,000 spectators.
Wednesday's second leg in Ukraine will decide which team advances to the finals in South Africa next year.
Greece coach Otto Rehhagel, who led the country to the 2004 European title, tried to take positives from the lacklustre match.
"When you can't win, the best result is not to let them score and this is what we did. The result also gives us chances in the second leg," he said.
"Perhaps we had our mind too much on not letting them score and so we failed to create opportunities.
"In Ukraine our tactics will be to not allow them to score and hopefully we will have chances."
Ukraine coach Alexei Mikhailichenko refused to accept that his team were favourites reach a second successive World Cup finals.
"The chances to qualify are equal for both teams. I don't know if we need to change our tactics. We will view the video of the match and then decide what needs to be done."
Each team had a half-chance in the second half.
Greek striker Giorgos Samaras let fly in the 47th minute but his drive was saved by Ukraine goalkeeper Andriy Pvatov.
Then in the 67th minute a blistering shot by Taras Mikhalik nearly put the visitors ahead, but Greek keeper Alexandros Tzorvas punched the ball away.
Rehhagel made a controversial change in his lineup in the 65th minute when he took off striker Fanis Gekas, leading scorer in the qualifiers with nine goals, and introduced the much taller Angelos Charisteas.
Six minutes later he took off Dimitris Salpingidis and brought on the leading scorer for the Greek Under-21 squad Kostas Mitroglou in an effort to spark the attack.
Both changes failed to push the Greeks to a breakthrough and Ukraine, who were quarter-finalists at the 2006 World Cup, were able to record their fifth straight shutout.
The first half was uneventful with neither team wanting to give up space.
Just before French referee Laurent Duhamel blew to end the first period, Greece came close to scoring when a long range free-kick by veteran midfielder Giorgos Karagounis found Gekas, but his shot was stopped by Pvatov.
The best opportunity in the first half for the visitors came in the 35th minute when Oleg Gusev's shot from up close was blocked by Tzorvas.
|Coach: O. Rehhagel|
|La Liga: Atletico Madrid 1 Espanyol 0|
|Mazzarri taking one game at a time|
|Pieters boost for Stoke|
|Ancelotti praises Real´s defensive effort|
|Ligue 1 Wrap: Valenciennes, Sochaux win, Rennes lose thriller|
|Eredivisie Wrap: Seventh heaven for PSV, Den Haag ease relegation fears|
|Rivaldo announces retirement from football|
|Serie A: Verona 0 Inter 2|
|League One Wrap: Brentford beat title rivals, Notts County cut adrift|
|Lambert slams ´leg-breaking´ Ramires tackle|
|It is not important when Bayern win title, insists Guardiola|
|La Liga: Malaga 0 Real Madrid 1|
|Mourinho tight-lipped on Foy performance|
|Bundesliga Wrap: Bayern on brink of title as Dortmund slip up at Gladbach|
|Scottish Premiership Wrap: St Johnstone, Hibs both slip up|
|Pulis praises plucky Palace|
|´Calm´ Poyet cool on survival hopes|
|Carver bemoans Newcastle´s lack of luck|
|Premier League: Aston Villa 1 Chelsea 0|
|Klopp upbeat despite Dortmund defeat|
|Bundesliga: Bayern Munich 2 Bayer Leverkusen 1|
|Everton did well not to panic, says Martinez|
|Solskjaer: Cardiff denied stonewall penalty|
|Pochettino criticises team´s focus|
|Composed Stoke performance pleases Hughes|
|Monk gears up for relegation scrap|
|´Angry´ Hughton dismisses departure claims|
|Magath ´convinced´ Fulham will survive|
|Allardyce ´baffled´ by refereeing decisions|
|My position not important, says Mel|
|Championship Wrap: Leicester, Burnley march on|
|League Two Wrap: York continue play-off push, top three all win|
|Premier League: Southampton 4 Norwich City 2|
|Premier League: Sunderland 0 Crystal Palace 0|
|Premier League: Everton 2 Cardiff City 1|
|Premier League: Swansea City 1 West Brom 2|
|Premier League: Fulham 1 Newcastle United 0|
|Premier League: Stoke City 3 West Ham 1|
|Bruce backs Boyd in diving row|
|Bundesliga: Borussia Dortmund 1 Borussia Monchengladbach 2|
|Pellegrini: Jelavic fouled Kompany first|
|A-League Wrap: Wanderers´ premier chances up in smoke, Victory go second|
|Premier League: Hull City 0 Manchester City 2|
|Palacio eager to kick on|
|Neymar´s position not an issue, insists Martino|
|J.League Wrap: Ardija win seven-goal thriller, Sanfrecce beaten|
|Spurs up for derby day, insists Adebayor|
|Moyes: Liverpool are favourites|
|Rodgers warns Manchester United of title drought|
|Huntelaar: Equaliser was key moment|
|Isco welcomes Seedorf comparison|
|Wenger to investigate Arsenal injuries|
|Mourinho: TV scheduling affecting English clubs in Europe|
|Teamwork the key for Stuttgart - Stevens|
|Atletico face ´11 more´ finals in La Liga|
|Keller wants more from Schalke|
|Valcke rubbishes protesters World Cup claims|
|Blanc demands focus from PSG|
|Anigo ´half satisfied´ after Marseille draw|
|Klopp: Dortmund coping despite injury crisis|
|West Brom sack Anelka|
|Rodgers claims Sturridge can be ´world class´|
|Primeira Liga: Academica 1 Braga 1|
|La Liga: Getafe 3 Granada 3|
|Ligue 1: Reims 1 Marseille 1|
|Scottish Premiership: Kilmarnock 0 Celtic 3|
|Bundesliga: Augsburg 1 Schalke 2|
|Eredivisie: Cambuur 3 RKC Waalwijk 2|
|Ligue 1 Preview: Paris Saint-Germain v Saint-Etienne|
|West Brom blast ´unprofessional´ Anelka, deny he has left|
|Serie A Preview: Genoa v Juventus|
|Verratti in contention for Saint-Etienne clash|
|Davies appeals second touchline ban|
|Anelka terminates West Brom contract|
|Guardiola expresses support for jailed Hoeness|
|Premier League Preview: Manchester United v Liverpool|
|Premier League Preview: Tottenham v Arsenal|
|Menez unsure over PSG future|
|Bendtner will be fined, says Wenger|
|La Liga Preview: Barcelona v Osasuna|
|Liverpool welcome back Lucas, Sakho|
|Moyes welcomes Van Persie commitment|
|Ranieri expects Abidal return|
|Hughes confirms Huth setback|
|Lambert lauds Villa trio|
|Real ´miss´ Arbeloa, says Ancelotti|
|Palacio pens new Inter deal|
|Millwall swoop for Maierhofer|
|Aguero a doubt for Manchester derby|
|Poyet relieved to focus on relegation scrap|
|Fabregas: I will not replace unique Xavi|
|Lennon confident of Commons talks|
|Hainer named chairman of Bayern supervisory board|
|Pochettino eyeing home comforts against Norwich|
|Palace suffer Chamakh blow|
|De Sanctis expresses sorrow for Strootman|
|Mourinho expresses fears over Chelsea squad depth|
|A-League: Sydney 1 Brisbane Roar 1|
|Diouf out for ´several months´|
|Palace have work to do in relegation battle, claims Pulis|
|Cerezo: Atletico can collect silverware|
|Kick It Out call for stronger sanctions|
|Chelsea can handle the pressure, claims Cech|
|Ozil set for four-week absence|
|Valero salutes ´fantastic´ Fiorentina|
|Hoeness resigns Bayern presidency|
|Monk unmoved by Koeman talk|
|Buffon ´regrets´ Juve lapse|
|Toure dismisses talk of City failure|
|Mel prepared to prove a point|
|Copa Libertadores Wrap: Atletico Paranaense claim key win|
|Colombia Primera A Wrap: Alianza Petrolera climb off the bottom|
|Copa do Brasil Wrap: Coritiba held|
|Chelsea, City favourites for title, says Sturridge|
|Liga del Futbol Profesional Boliviano: Tight battle at the top|
|Montella hails attacking Fiorentina|
|K-League Preview: Tricky trip for Jeonbuk|
|Sherwood: Benfica boss ´lacked class´|
|Conte optimistic about Euro chances|
|Sabella: Romero is my number one|