Japan vs. Cameroon: Japan tames the Indomitable Lions, 1-0
After today's lackluster performance in the Japan vs. Cameroon game, the Indomitable Lions will have to do something spectacular to rescue their World Cup campaign.
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Five of the continent’s six teams have played so far and only one, Ghana, can feel confident about reaching the second round.
Cameroon should be one of Africa’s strongest teams but they were embarrassingly poor tonight against a Japanese side that didn’t look much better.
The standard of many of the early games has not been great, but for 45 minutes this Group E encounter between Japan and Cameroon threatened to plumb new depths.
It was enlivened, briefly, by Keisuke Honda’s 42nd minute goal but even that owed much to the Cameroonian defense’s inability to deal with a simple cross.
Cameroon improved in the second half, although it would have been hard for them to have been any worse.
They looked menacing whenever Benoit Assou-Ekotto charged forward from left-back, but it happened too rarely and his end product was too haphazard.
Star striker Samuel Eto’o scurried and hurried to little effect. And, as so often in Cameroon’s big matches, he was a pale shadow of the player whose performances for Inter Milan and Barcelona have been so impressive in recent years.
Cameroon coach Paul le Guen insisted on playing Eto’o on the right, one of several curious tactical decisions.
The Frenchman dropped his goalkeeper, Idriss Kameni – one of Africa’s best – as well as the Arsenal midfielder Alex Song. Kameni’s replacement, Hamidou Souleymanou, hardly inspired confidence at the back, spilling a couple of early crosses. Song’s absence was felt even more strongly. Japan’s five-man midfield dominated a Song-less Cameroon.