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Monday, June 14, 2010 (All times Eastern)

Japan (0-0-0) vs. Cameroon (0-0-0), 10 a.m.

Bloemfontein, South Africa (Sports Network) - Japan is making its fourth successive appearance at the World Cup, and outside of a run to the second round in 2002 as co-hosts, it has not enjoyed much success.

The Japanese are a combined 0-4-2 in World Cups played outside of their native land, in 1998 and 2006, while the team's opponents on Monday in their Group E opener at Free State Stadium, Cameroon, will be looking to benefit from the location of this summer's tournament.

The World Cup being played in Africa should have a positive effect on teams like Cameroon, which became the first African nation to advance to the quarterfinals of the World Cup in 1990.

And the Indomitable Lions will be looking to return to the knockout stage for the first time in 20 years after failing to advance beyond the first round in each of their last three World Cups in 1994, 1998 and 2002.

The team posted just one win in those three tournaments combined, while they failed to qualify for the competition in 2006.

Striker Samuel Eto'o will lead the team offensively, and although he put together just an average season by his standards for Inter Milan with 12 goals in Serie A, he is poised to carry the scoring load for his country.

There are players with European experience on the team in Arsenal's Alexandre Song and Lyon's Jean Makoun in the midfield, while Tottenham teammates Benoit Assou-Ekotto and Sebastien Bassong anchor the defense.

Japan might be the weakest team in the group, with the Netherlands and Denmark making up the rest of Group E, so a win for Cameroon is a must if it wants to advance to the knockout round.

Veteran Shunsuke Nakamura will lead the way for Japan, but it will have a hard time picking up its first World Cup win away from home in a balanced group.

06/13 12:47:53 ET


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