• Date: Mon 14 June 2010
  • Venue: Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein
  • Ref: Benquerenca, O
  • Attendance: 31,600
Japan

Japan

Honda (39)

1 - 0

Japan vs Cameroon

Team Lineups

Japan

Eiji Kawashima
Yuichi Komano
Marcus Tanaka Tulio
Yuto Nagatomo
Yuji Nakazawa
Yuki Abe
Yasuhito Endo
Daisuke Matsui (Shinji Okazaki, 69)
Makoto Hasebe (Junichi Inamoto, 88)
Keisuke Honda
Yoshito Okubo (Kisho Yano, 81)

Cameroon

Souleymanou Hamidou
Benoit Assou-Ekotto
Nicolas N'Koulou
Sebastien Bassong
Stephane M'Bia
Joel Matip (Achille Emana, 63)
Jean Makoun (Njitap Geremi, 75)
Eyong Enoh
Samuel Eto'o
Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting (Mohammadou Idrissou, 75)
Pierre Webo

Match Report
Japan caused a minor upset as they started their World Cup Group E campaign with a 1-0 victory over Cameroon in Bloemfontein, with Keisuke Honda netting the only goal of the game. The Indomitable Lions failed to qualify four years ago and crashed out of the three previous finals at the group stages, while the Samurai Blue went out in the group stages four years ago, having reached the last 16 as co-hosts in 2002. The early stages of the game saw little action near either penalty area, with both sides seemingly nervous and unwilling to go in search of an opening goal. As the half wore on Makoto Hasebe and Daisuke Matsui started to combine well down the right flank for Japan, but were unable to find a way to trouble Cameroon keeper Hamidou Souleymanou. It took until seven minutes before the interval for the first shot on target to arrive, as Eiji Kawashima gathered a tame, low drive from Enoh Eyong. Almost immediately Japan broke the deadlock as a deep Matsui cross from the right went over a couple of defenders and Honda collected at the far post and coolly slotted a left-foot shot past Souleymanou. The second half got off to a lively start, with Samuel Eto'o showing his class by bursting clear down the right before finding Eric Choupo-Moting, whose shot drifted narrowly wide of the far post. However, that proved to be a false dawn as Cameroon then failed to exert any pressure against a solid Japanese defence. Lions coach Paul Le Guen brought on all three substitutes to try and shake things up, but seven minutes from time Japan almost scored a clinching second goal as Hasebe's drive from distance was parried by Souleymanou and Shinji Okazaki blasted the rebound against the post. Cameroon then came within inches of an undeserved equaliser as Stephane M'Bia lashed a 35-yard drive against the woodwork, with Kawashima nowhere to be seen. Le Guen's men continued to put on the pressure right up to the final whistle, but were unable to deny Japan a potentially important victory.
Live Text Commentary
Full time
 

Full-Time: JAPAN 1-0 CAMEROON.

90

Assou-Ekotto's cross causes problems, but Nakazawa makes a crucial clearance.

90

Kawashima makes a fine save as Webo touches Geremi's cross goalwards, but the referee has blown for a push in the build-up.

90

Eto'o tries a shot from distance, Tulio is right in the way.

90

Kawashima catches as Assou-Ekotto's free-kick drifts straight through to him.

90
Yellow Card
 

Yuki Abe is shown a yellow card for kicking the ball away.

90

Four minutes of added time to be played.

89

A back-header falls nicely for Kawashima to dive on the loose ball.

88
Substitution
 

Junichi Inamoto jogs on for Hasebe.

87

Souleymanou almost allows a Honda shot to dribble into the net, but recovers to gather at the second attempt.

87

That was so close to an equaliser.

86

M'Bia lashes a 35-yarder drive against the woodwork with Kawashima nowhere to be seen, before a follow-up effort is gathered by the Japan keeper.

85

Honda sees off a few more seconds with a good run down the left.

84

Time is running out for the Indomitable Lions, who have been more like pussycats today.

83

Hasebe's drive from distance is parried by Souleymanou and Okazaki blasts the rebound against the post, but an offside flag ends the attack in any case.

82
Substitution
 

Okubo makes way for Kisho Yano.

80

Kawashima punches away a Geremi free-kick from the right.

79

Idrissou tries to run clear, loses the ball and fouls Nakazawa in the process.

78

Japan have a free-kick on halfway and take their time before playing it forward.

76

Le Guen has made all three of his changes, but Eto'o remains out on the right flank, baffling.

75
Substitution
 

Geremi and Mohammadou Idrissou come on for Jean Makoun and Choupo-Moting.

75

Webo thinks he is in, but the offside flag is up.

72
Yellow Card
 

Nicolas N'Koulou is booked for a foul on Okazaki, it looked like a dive from here.

71

Twenty minutes to play.

69
Substitution
 

Matsui makes way for Shinji Okazaki.

67

Choupo-Moting wins a corner on the left as Cameroon start to put on the pressure.

66

Midway through the second half and Japan are just starting to drop back in defence.

65

Play is back underway again and Tulio is okay.

63
Substitution
 

Le Guen introduces Achille Emana for Joel Matip.

63

Kawashima clatters into his own defender Tulio, who is down.

62

Assou-Ekotto's free-kick is headed out by Yuji Nakazawa for a corner.

60

An hour gone and Japan remain in charge as they lead by a goal to nil.

58

Eto'o miscontrols the ball and it runs out of play, that just about sums up his day so far.

57

Choupo-Moting makes progress down the left, cuts inside and shoots well wide of the near post.

55

Cameroon coach Paul Le Guen doesn't appear to have any changes in the offing.

53

Eto'o is far more involved than he was in the first 45 minutes.

51

The second half has started a lot brighter than the first did.

50

Eto'o shows his class at last by bursting clear down the right and his cut-back finds Choupo-Moting, whose shot drifts narrowly wide of the far post.

49

The set-piece is blasted straight into the defensive wall.

48

Yoshito Okubo wins a free-kick right near the Cameroon goal-line, as he is hauled down by M'Bia.

47

It's comes to nothing as a free-kick is given for some pushing.

46

Japan concede a corner, that's the first of the game to date.

46

Japan start the second half.

Half time
 

Half-Time: JAPAN 1-0 CAMEROON.

45

Two minutes of added time to be played.

44

We've not had a single corner in the game so far.

43

Stephane M'Bia's cross from the right is headed away and Japan hold firm in defence.

40

That came out of the blue, it should at least lead the game to open up a little.

39
Goal
 

JAPAN 1-0 CAMEROON, a deep Matsui cross from the right goes over a couple of defenders and HONDA collects at the far post and coolly slots his shot past Souleymanou.

38

The first shot on target, as Kawashima gathers a low drive from Enoh Eyong.

38

Assou-Ekotto races down the left, but overhits the ball and it is cleared.

37

Assou-Ekotto gets a ball in from the left, but it is cleared away and Japan win a free-kick to ease the danger.

35

Ten minutes until half-time.

34

Japan get another couple of crosses into the area, they are starting to gain the upper hand.

33

The game has restarted and Kawashima seems to be okay.

31

Japan keeper Eiji Kawashima is down clutching his back after falling as he tried to collect a high ball.

30

There's not even been a booking to enliven the proceedings.

28

Keisuke Honda has a crossing opportunity on the right, but dithers and wastes the opening.

27

Webo is caught offside as Benoit Assou-Ekotto launches the ball forward.

25

Still neither side has managed a single shot, on target or off.

23

A Mexican Wave has started in the stadium, the crowd are obviously a bit bored.

21

A cross from the right from Hasebe causes Souleymanou a problem, he gathers the ball at the second attempt, but an offside flag is up in any case.

19

Nearly 20 minutes played and it's not been a thriller so far.

17

Matsui's ball in from the right is straight down the throat of Souleymanou.

16

Makoto Hasebe and Daisuke Matsui combine well down the right, but the latter's cross is headed away.

14

Cameroon keeper Hamidou Souleymanou dives onto the loose ball as a Japan throw-in drifts into the area.

13

Japan have had plenty of the ball in the last couple of minutes, without threatening at all.

11

Cameroon launch a free-kick into the Japanese area, it comes to nothing.

8

Cameroon launch the first attack, with Pierre Webo finding space down the right, but his cross is just behind Eric Choupo-Moting in the area.

7

The Vuvuzela are being blown around a less than full stadium, that's the highlight so far.

4

It's been a busy opening to the game, but no play worthy of note.

2

Cameroon enjoy more of the early possession, without any excitement in either area.

1
Kickoff
 

Referee Benquerenca of Portugal gets the game underway.

Awaiting Kickoff
 

The Samurai Blue went out in the group stages four years ago, having reached the last 16 as co-hosts in 2002.

Awaiting Kickoff
 

The Indomitable Lions have the undoubted star of the show in Inter Milan striker Samuel Eto'o.

Awaiting Kickoff
 

With the Netherlands having seen off Denmark in the opening game in Group E, both teams will know that a victory could set up qualification for the knockout stages.

Awaiting Kickoff
 

Japan and Cameroon start their World Cup campaigns with a clash in the Free State Stadium in Bloemfontein.