South Korea held 0-0 by improving Japan

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SEOUL (Reuters) -- South Korea and Japan fought out a 0-0 draw on Tuesday in a blood-and-thunder friendly lacking only goals to mark a pulsating clash between the Asian rivals.

Japan, who stunned Argentina 1-0 last week in their first match under Italian coach Alberto Zaccheroni, pushed South Korea hard in the first half.

Midfielder Keisuke Honda went close with two long-range efforts and Park Chu-young shaved the bar with a brave header for the Koreans, watched from the bench by injured talisman Park Ji-sung.

Park Chu-young forced a decent save from Japan goalkeeper Shusaku Nishikawa in the 63rd minute and the dangerous Monaco striker also went close with another header.

"It was the technique of Japan against the physicality of South Korea," Zaccheroni, who has been hailed as a miracle worker since Friday's Argentina shock, told reporters.

"Japan is a great team with excellent players but some need to trust in their ability more. If they do that they can improve a long way."

South Korea, whose 2-0 win in a World Cup send-off in May almost cost former Japan coach Takeshi Okada his job before the tournament, have 34 wins to Japan's 10 in 63 meetings.