Japan tames Cameroon

Reading time 2 min.

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.

2010 World Cup  South Africa's preparation to host the games on African soil for the first time but also individual African countries' determination to take part in the historic event. Five African countries - Cameroon, Nigeria, Algeria, South Africa and Ghana - are selected to join twenty seven teams from around the world to battle it out on the football pitch for the gold trophy. One by one, the African teams are eliminated, but Africans will not be bogged down as they rally behind their compatriots on the wings of the vuvuzela, a far cry from the near diplomatic row between Algeria and Egypt during the qualifiers. Ghana are the last team to leave but not before African unity becomes reality...
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