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Japan vs Cameroon – Africans the stronger of two weak teams

| 13.06.2010

Japan and Cameroon meet at 3pm on Monday in Bloemfontein, with neither team much troubling opponents in recent weeks, and Japan just cannot score. Cameroon are favourites to win at 11/10. The 0-0 is 7/1.

Japan have had a shocking run up to the tournament – they’ve only scored one goal in their last five games in which they have lost to Serbia, Ivory Coast, England and regional rivals South Korea. To make matters even worse they also drew 0-0 with Zimbabwe.

After conceding two goals from free kicks against the Ivory Coast they have admitted they are nervous about their ability to cope with set plays, and with this game probably the easiest in the group for them, Japan look unlikely to break their record of never having won a World Cup finals game on foreign soil.

CSKA Moscow midfielder Keisuke Honda is expected to play on his own up front with one time Mallorca reserve striker Yoshito Okubo behind him and Daisuke Matsui of Grenoble in midfield. Grenoble finished bottom of Ligue Un last season by a long way.

Cameroon have hardly set the world aflame with their preparations either – they have failed to win any of their warm up matches and lost to Serbia and Portugal.

They have a poor record against Japan, having never scored against them in three meetings. Indeed they have only won one of their last ten matches at the World Cup finals, but with Samuel Eto’o leading their forward line, surely those runs of poor form are about to come to an end.

Eto’o was the second top scorer in the African World Cup qualifiers, and is a hot favourite at 4/1 to score first in this one.

Will the Japanese fail to score yet again? Cameroon are 13/8 to keep a clean sheet.



Ed Needham