Denmark came from a goal behind to defeat Cameroon in their FIFA World Cup 2010 Group E encounter yesterday, sealing Cameroon’s fate as the first team to be assured of elimination from the tournament.
If Cameroon were to go out, they would do so showing more fight than they had in the opening match against Japan where they failed to turn up whatsoever, though, as Cameroon started well and threatened often in an entertaining match that both sides had to win.
Samuel Eto’o, reinstalled in the middle of the pitch rather than the rather odd right midfield he had played against Japan, looked reinvigorated, and he lifted African hopes of qualification by scoring with a well taken finish on 10 minutes.
However, Denmark finished the first half strongly, and Arsenal’s Bendtner only needed a further 23 minutes to grab an equalizer for the Danes, who were themselves staring down the barrel of potential elimination after losing against Netherlands in their opener.
Bendtner was set up by the impressive Dennis Rommedahl, who jinked into the box and provided an inch perfect pass which laid on the chance well for his team-mate. Rommedahl, who has been Denmarks best player in the tournament, rolling back the years with inspired moments of class, would later score the winner.
That winner was a beautifully taken effort which came as Cameroon pressed to score the winner themselves. Rommedahl found himself running at a midfielder, whom he bamboozled too simply, before cutting in onto his ‘swinger’ left foot. His shot, from 12 yards, was probably the best he has ever hit with his wrong’un, and it curled round Hamidou in the Cameroon goal before nestling in the bottom left corner, marking a dramatic turnaround for the Danes.
Cameroon would continue to pile forward – as they had for much of this match – but would find another veteran Danish player, goalkeeper Thomas Sorenson, this time, too good once more as the ‘keeper pulled out a fantastic save low to his right from a drilled shot from Achille Emana to secure the three points and put Cameroon out of the competition.
Defensive inexperience did for Cameroon in this match, but if they are to point to any reason in particular as to why they are heading home at the earliest moment, it must surely be that frustrating non-event of an opening match. It certainly does not help when you play your best striker out wide on the right: weird tactics did not work; Cameroon are going home.
Netherlands are assured qualification on 6 points as they have beaten both Japan and Denmark who are on three apiece. Denmark have set themselves an entertaining Group E showdown against Japan on Thursday evening – winner will take all, while a draw would put Japan through by virtue of their superior goal difference.
The Denmark v Japan match could be an unexpected pleasure, especially given the threat Denmark showed today, though Japan are well organised in defence, as they showed against Cameroon and the Netherlands.