Asian giants Japan have shocked African big guns Cameroon in the second game in Group E. The Indomitable Lions seem to be in control of proceedings early on but it was the Blue Samurai who scored just before halftime through Keisuke Honda to bag all three points.
Three games, four goals against, none for. Ahead of the game of their first game, history and statistics got together to shield against Cameroon. The Indomitable Lions were in no mood to cope with facts as they kicked off their sixth World Cup, an African record, against Japan.
But the Blue Samourais, who had never won a game outside of their country at the World Cup stage, had something else in mind. Despite Samuel Eto’o motivationnal pregame speech, it was Japan who took the best start. In an uneventful first half, a dash and cross from Grenoble’s Daisuke Matsui saw Keisuke Honda, gloriously unmarked at the far post, has time to set himself before stabbing the ball past Hamidou Souleymanou (1-0, 38’).
Five times in the World Cup has Cameroon been behind at half time. And never had the Lions recovered. The best they managed was a draw against Chile in 1998. With its impressive organisation, the Japanese squad can rely on counter-attacks and leave the initiative to Cameroon, something Paul Le Guen’s men are not really good at.
Despite the Africans’ best attempts, it was not to be. 50th minute : Choupo-Moting’s try is scooped well wide of the target. With 10 minutes to go, Cameroon finally roar : 80th minute, Cameroon defender Stephane Mbia picks up the ball about 30 yards out, steps forward and hammers a swerving shot onto the crossbar. 92th minute, brilliant save by Japan keeper Eiji Kawashima, low to his right from a Mohammadou Idrissou flick. Too little too late.
Lack of passion, lack of effort, Cameroon got it all wrong. Already, the Indomitable Lions have no choice but to win against Denmark, for their second World Cup game, on Saturday.