Cameroon v Denmark - Match Preview
Cameroon coach Paul Le Guen has called on his team to live up to their nickname and produce a lion-hearted performance against Denmark in a World Cup encounter that is crucial for both sides.
Neither nation were able to pick up anything from their opening Group E matches, with Cameroon going down 1-0 to Japan and Denmark suffering a 2-0 defeat at the hands of Holland.
That means another loss for either side at Pretoria's Loftus Versfeld stadium could spell the end of the road for the losers, depending on what happens in the earlier match between the two group leaders.
Le Guen, who wants his team - nicknamed the Indomitable Lions - to stand up and be counted, said: "I think they (the players) need to face up to their responsibilities.
"I assume my own responsibilities 100% without any reservations, I put the team together, I decide on tactics, but the players also have their responsibilities and they have to find a spirit.
"We often talk about them being lions and having a leonine spirit, and I hope very much that they find this spirit in the match.
"That's something we've been discussing since we played Japan because there were certain players who underperformed, especially compared to how they played in previous matches, but I think we need to find this very specific spirit, this leonine spirit, which I hope will enable us to get a result.
"I think we had it in the autumn, there was a dynamic and an atmosphere in the team, and we need to make sure the same atmosphere prevails."
Le Guen also revealed he would be making at least three changes to the team that took the field against Japan, describing their performance in that match as disappointing and not good enough.
Le Guen opted for an attacking 4-3-3 formation against Japan but then saw Cameroon struggle to create many opportunities aside from Stephane Mbia's late effort that hit the bar.
"We weren't good enough, we weren't as good as we could have been. We're disappointed, and quite legitimately so, and we need to take stock of that," he said.
"I will make a few changes, there will be three new players in the starting line-up, and there will perhaps be one or two changes elsewhere."
Denmark coach Morten Olsen was keeping his cards close to his chest regarding his plans and preparations, including giving little away about the fitness of key striker Nicklas Bendtner.
Whereas Cameroon counterpart Paul Le Guen revealed earlier in the evening he would be making three changes to the Indomitable Lions side that started Monday's 1-0 defeat to Japan and also hinted at further tinkering, Olsen refused to reveal anything about his thinking.
"I'm not going to say anything about that," said Olsen, whose was also heavily quizzed at tonight's press conference about the health of Bendtner.
The Arsenal striker was expected to miss their opening match against Holland with a groin problem, but he was a surprise starter in the 2-0 defeat and lasted an hour before being replaced by Mikkel Beckmann.
Asked if the 22-year-old would be fit to face Cameroon in the battle of the bottom two sides in Group E, Olsen said: "We'll see if he can play, I'm not putting out any smokescreen, I don't know.
"Nicklas Bendtner and all our medical team have done a wonderful job, it's a miracle actually that he can play, at least to a certain extent.
"But we have to be controlled and very cautious with what we can do with him in training, he's only only training every other day and I think that will be the same going forward.
"That's the program we have for Nicklas Bendtner and we can live with that. He can only train every other day, so that's what we have to do in order to allow him to play."
Olsen did admit that the towering striker was a vital player for the Scandinavians, but was adamant they had other options in case Bendtner was not available.
He also insisted Denmark could still be victorious without the Gunners forward, "We've won matches without him before and we can do it again," said Olsen.
"He's important but he's part of a team. If he cannot play then we'll have to play in a different way.
"I believe that every player is important in one way or another. It's quite clear that Bendtner, for instance, is very important for us. I think we've seen that.
"He wasn't 100% fit against Holland, he only played 60 mins, he couldn't play 90. Perhaps he can play 90 minutes, I don't know. But he is important for us."
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