World Cup Recap - Japan vs. Cameroon|
(Monday, June 14th)
Final Score: Japan 1, Cameroon 0
Bloemfontein, South Africa (Sports Network) - Japan earned a 1-0 victory in
its Group E match vs. Cameroon at Free State Stadium on Monday in what could
be considered the biggest upset to this point of the FIFA World Cup.
Cameroon, which features the likes of forward Samuel Eto'o of European
Champions Inter Milan, midfielder Alexandre Song of Arsenal, and defenders
Benoit Assou-Ekotto and Sebastien Bassong of Tottenham, looked out of sorts
against a club that had never won a World Cup match outside its home country
prior to Monday's game.
But it was one of Japan's few international stars that stole the show with a
goal in the 38th minute. CSKA Moscow striker Keisuke Honda put his side atop
Group E, alongside the Netherlands - which beat Denmark 2-0 earlier in the day
- with three points apiece.
"Our strength was our collective force, we kept going for the 90 minutes and
defended really solidly and that was the key," Honda said. "For my goal, the
ball in was very good so I told myself to be calm enough to take it. I knew
that when we had a chance we had to take it."
With the game deadlocked at zero and neither team really doing much, Cameroon
started pushing the action after the half-hour mark.
Eyong Enoh had the first shot on goal for the Indomitable Lions in the 37th
But just a minute later Japan went up 1-0 when midfielder Daisuke Matsui set
up a goal from the right side. The midfielder controlled the ball in the
offensive third on the wing, faked a cross with his right foot and cut back to
his left before looping a ball to the back post for Honda, who took a touch
and easily slotted home past Cameroon goalkeeper Hamidou Souleymanou.
The goal came on Japan's first shot of the game.
Cameroon's best chance came minutes after the break when Eto'o beat three
defenders on the byline, just to the right of the area before picking out
Maxim Choupo-Moting in the middle of the penalty area. Choupo-Moting wasted
the opportunity, however, missing the shot badly.
Stephane Mbia had a chance to pull Cameroon level four minutes from time when
he unleashed a 35-yard rocket that thundered off the crossbar and out of
danger, as the Indomitable Lions have still never come back to win after
conceding the first goal in a World Cup match.
Japan plays the Netherlands on Saturday in a match between the Group E
leaders, while Cameroon will aim to rebound later the same day against
06/14 15:38:51 ET