With Holland already through to the last 16 and Cameroon out, it took Robin van Persie's 36th-minute flash of inspiration to get things going.
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Samuel Eto'o's second-half penalty levelled matters until substitute Klaas Jan Huntelaar's 82nd-minute winner continued the group winners' momentum heading into a last-16 clash with Slovakia.
Holland came into the match on an unbeaten run of 21 international matches and had produced wins against Denmark and Japan to secure their progression.
Bert van Marwijk opted not to risk starting with Arjen Robben, who is yet to feature due to a hamstring problem, while Van Persie and Nigel de Jong were included despite being a booking away from suspension.
Rafael van der Vaart dragged one wide for Holland early on and Cameroon's Aurelien Chedjou fired a weak effort at Maarten Stekelenburg.
Dirk Kuyt picked up a needless booking before Van Persie could only fire straight at Hamidou Souleymanou after brilliantly setting himself up by chesting down Giovanni van Bronckhorst's chip forward.
In the 31st minute Cameroon midfielder Jean Makoun headed over from Geremi's cross before Kuyt dragged one wide for Holland.
Finally the crowd had something to cheer after 35 minutes when Van Persie opened the scoring, playing a neat one-two with Van der Vaart before firing between Souleymanou's legs.
After five minutes of the second half Mark van Bommel played a nice sweeping ball forward for Van Persie which his colleague wastefully hit at the goalkeeper.
Sneijder's free-kick was on target but lacked power while Cameroon showed little conviction going forward.
Van Persie was withdrawn before the hour mark with Huntelaar coming on.
Cameroon's best chance came moments later when substitute Vincent Aboubakar's clever reverse pass found Makoun - who looked offside - but the midfielder was denied by Stekelenburg with Chedjou then blasting over from the loose ball.
Cameroon were then handed a 64th-minute penalty by referee Pablo Pozo when Van der Vaart raised his arm to block Geremi's free-kick, receiving a booking for his trouble.
Captain Eto'o kept his nerve to convert a perfect spot-kick.
Van Marwijk sent on Eljero Elia for Kuyt with Robben still waiting in the wings while De Jong could not properly connect with Van der Vaart's teasing free-kick.
Van Bronckhorst was then harshly booked for pulling down Aboubakar.
Stephane Mbia headed over from a set-piece before Cameroon boss Paul Le Guen made substitutions of his own, with veteran Rigobert Song getting a brief taste of his fourth World Cup tournament.
Meanwhile, Robben's strip-tease down to his playing kit excited the crowd before he came on for Van der Vaart.
He made an impact quickly, too, cutting inside and firing a trademark left-footed shot which hit the post and fell to Huntelaar to restore his side's lead.