Japan vs Cameroon – Honda seals shock 1-0 win
A goal from Keisuke Honda helped Japan beat Cameroon to throw qualification from Group E wide open.
Cameroon had never lost an opening game at the World Cup and Japan had never won a match at any stage outside their own country.
But a neat strike from Honda in the 38th minute has re-written the record books. The bleach-blond haired forward controlled a Daisuke Matsui cross first time and coolly slotted past an onrushing Hamidou Souleymanou.
Slack defending from Tottenham’s Benoit Assou-Ekotto and Marseille’s Stéphane Mbia allowed the Japenese players the space required.
Mbia later hit the crossbar with a thunderous drive from 30 yards that had Eiji Kawashima stranded, but in truth Japan deserved their shock victory over the Indomitable Lions, who looked subdued.
Cameroon had been expected to challenge Denmark for runners-up spot behind Holland but they now look in critical danger of going out at the group stage.
It will instead be Japan eyeing the second-place berth and if they repeat their well-disciplined performance in Saturday’s match with Holland, further surprises could follow.
By the time they face Denmark in Thursday June 24th they could well only need a draw to progress.
Conversely Samuel Eto’o’s chances of being named top African scorer appear limited. He had been favourite for the title before the game started but looked pretty grouchy at being asked to play wide right and is now level with Asamoah Gyan at 4/1.
How will this surprise result affect the World cup Group E betting? Japan should prove a match for Denmark in their final group game and a win would likely secure a runners-up spot.