BBC Sport world-cup-2010


Japan 1-0 Cameroon

By Caroline Cheese
  1. 14:25 Commentary  

    Hello, welcome along to the main meal in today’s three-course World Cup menu. Cameroon, the best African side at this tournament (if you believe the Fifa rankings, which of course none of us do), against Japan (who are a lowly 45th, for what it's worth, which isn't much).

  2. 14:30 Commentary  

    Cameroon... a football team still inextricably linked with Roger Milla and his 1990 wiggling hips. We've seen and heard a lot of Milla during this World Cup already, partly thanks to a brown, fizzy drink, and partly because he suggested Samuel Eto'o had not performed as well for his country as for his club. “Is it worth me going to the World Cup?" responded Eto'o, who has scored 42 times for his country. "I still have a few days to think about it but I will see if my participation is important because I don't need this in my career."

  3. 14:33 Commentary  

    Suffice to say, Samuel Eto'o got over that little huff and takes his place in Cameroon's starting XI today against a Japan side who come in to the tournament on the back of four straight defeats, against Ivory Coast, England, South Korea and Serbia.

  4. 14:35 Commentary TEAMS Japan v Cameroon  

    JAPAN: 21-Eiji Kawashima; 2-Yuki Abe, 22-Yuji Nakazawa, 4-Tulio, 3-Yuichi Komano; 5-Yuto Nagatomo, 16-Yoshito Okubo, 7-Yasuhito Endo, 17-Makoto Hasebe, 8-Daisuke Matsui, 18-Keisuke Honda.
    CAMEROON: 16-Hamidou Souleymanou; 19-Stephane Mbia, 5-Sebastien Bassong, 3-Nicolas Nkoulou, 2-Benoit Assou-Ekotto, 11-Jean Makoun, 18-Enoh Eyong, 15-Achille Webo, 21-Joel Matip, 9-Samuel Eto'o, 13-Eric Choupo-Moting.
    Referee: Olegario Benquerenca (Portugal)

  5. 14:39 Commentary  

    Milla claimed he only criticised Eto'o "to spark him up" but that didn't stop the Inter Milan striker firing back: "When I was growing up my bedroom was full of posters of footballers I wanted to be like. The biggest poster that was right behind my bed was of Milla... He has, unfortunately, darkened and tarnished the image I have of the gigantic poster of him behind my bed. In response to the words that have been published that I have done nothing for my country, I ask: is an Olympic gold medal, two African Nation Cups and the all-time goalscoring record for the country nothing?"

  6. 14:44 Commentary  

    No, Samuel, it isn't nothing. By the looks of things, Eto'o may come up against a rather-defence minded Japan side today. Yoshito Okubo, of Visel Kobe fame, is the only striker.

  7. 14:47 Commentary TEAM NEWS Japan v Cameroon  

    Cameroon coach Paul Le Guen leaves Arsenal’s Alex Song on the bench, while 36-year-old Hamidou Souleymanou replaces regular Idriss Kameni in goal. Inter Milan striker Samuel Eto'o leads the Cameroon attack, along with Achille Webo. Japan coach Takeshi Okada has experimented with various line-ups recently and goes with CSKA Moscow’s star midfielder Keisuke Honda up front alongside Yoshito Okubo. Captain Makoto Hasebe anchoring the midfield.

  8. 14:47 Commentary  

    Sensational start to the BBC's coverage as Emmanuel Adebayor's phone goes off.... twice. Unfortunately, the Manchester City striker has got a very sensible ringtone. I was hoping for Blue Moon at the very least.

  9. SMS  

    From The J-Man in Ipswich: "In defence of Eto'o, he's got a point. The achievements of Cameroon during his playing career far outweigh the two-goal cameo of old snake hips. Not sure dancing round a corner flag (as funny as it was at the time) gives him the right to criticise one of Africas greatest exports."

  10. 606  

    From Robsoninho: "Japan might be playing defensively, but Cameroon can always rely on the own-goal-scoring instincts of Tulio at the back for Japan. He was prolific in the pre-World Cup friendlies."

  11. 14:53 Commentary  

    Yes, three of the last four goals conceded by Japan have been own goals, and Marcus Tulio Tanaka managed to score two of them, against England and Ivory Coast.

  12. 14:56 Commentary  

    A not very packed crowd at Bloemfontein blow their vuvuzelas with abandon as the teams arrive on the pitch. Anthems now. Japan's is a very mournful affair, and I'd imagine very easy to get out of time, while Cameroon's is a bit more groovy.

  13. 14:59 Commentary  

    Fact attack: Japan have only played 10 World Cup matches and have never won one outside their own country. Cameroon are about to kick off in their sixth World Cup, a record for an African nation. Fact attack ends.

  14. 15:00 KICK-OFF  

    Right on time, we're off and running. Japan wear blue shirts and white shorts, Cameroon in their changed strip of yellow shirts and green shorts and socks.

  15. 606  

    From Postie501: "Am expecting some seriously tasty tackling! Ref's gonna have his work cut out me thinks."

  16. Contributor BBC Sport's Mark Lawrenson  

    "I think Japan have given the ball away once every minute so far."

  17. Contributor BBC World Service's Richard Connelly  

    Via Twitter: "Big noise inside Bloem stadium. But it's nowhere near full yet. Just those horns! Big reception for Cameroon tho..."

  18. 9 mins Commentary  

    First piece of goalmouth action, and it's after some neat build-up play ion the right inevitably involving Samuel Eto'o. Achille Webo cuts the ball back for Eric Choupo-Moting, but it's behind the Nuremberg striker and Japan survive.

  19. 10 mins Commentary  

    Japan keeper Eiji Kawashima comes for a cross and completely misses it. He's fortunate that Makoto Hasebe is right behind him to head clear.

  20. 13 mins Commentary  

    Not much going on here. Something for the hair fans: Tottenham left-back Benoit Assou-Ekotto has gone for the Jason Lee pineapple, accompanied by a large black headband.

  21. SMS  

    From Stewart in Cardiff: "Re 15:00: Blue and white v yellow and green? Sounds like an East Anglian derby to me! On the ball Cameroon!"

  22. Contributor BBC Sport's Paul Fletcher  

    Via Twitter: "Portugal's Deco says he wants talismanic Ivory Coast striker Didier Drogba to play against his side on Tuesday. Does he mean it?"

  23. Twitter  

    From Infostrada:"Cameroon’s starting line-up vs Japan (25 years - 166 days ) is the second youngest at the 2010 World Cup only to Germany (25 years – 76 days)."

  24. 21 mins Commentary  

    Cameroon keeper Hamidou Souleymanou drops a cross as he challenges with Yoshito Okubo, but manages to collect it before Keisuke Honda can pounce. Okubo, who it turns out was offside from the cross anyway, needs a bit of treatment. A Mexican wave of doom has started. Woe is me.

  25. Contributor BBC World Service's Farayi Mungazi  

    Via Twitter: "Has Eto'o lost some of that electrifying pace since moving to Inter? Seems that way to me."

  26. 25 mins Commentary  

    Daisuke Matsui darts through on goa... Oh, he's offside. A slo-mo now of Keisuke Honda and Samuel Eto'o hugging each other. Lovely. But not exactly the goalmouth action we were after. Eto'o has hardly been in the game and seems a bit isolated out right. Maybe that's why Honda gave him a hug.

  27. 29 mins Commentary  

    Bit of trouble for Stephane Mbia, who lets out a loud (louder than a vuvuzela even) scream as he is challenged by Yasuhito Endo. He's OK though.

  28. 31 mins Commentary  

    And now Japan keeper Eiji Kawashima is on the deck after catching a high ball into the box. Looked to land heavily, but I think he'll be fine and, dare I suggest, may even have been looking for the free-kick. How we feeling out there? Chipper, I hope.

  29. SMS  

    From Ross in Leicester: "Have a feeling this will follow the goalless trend of the World Cup so far. 0-0 written all over it."
    That's the spirit, Ross

  30. 34 mins Commentary  

    Some sharp passing from Cameroon now as they look to unpick the lock. Jean Makoun threads a pass through for Eric Choupo-Moting, but Yuto Nagatomo is alert to the danger and clears. There's a tiny little bird on the pitch! Completely oblivious to the dour football going on around it, and indeed the din of a thousand vuvuzelas.

  31. 38 mins GOAL Japan 1-0 Cameroon  

    That's very much what this game needed. Daisuke Matsui cuts back on to his left foot and delivers an inswinging cross from the right. Keisuke Honda is gloriously unmarked at the far post, with both cetnral defenders marking the same man, and has time to set himself before stabbing the ball past Hamidou Souleymanou.

  32. Contributor BBC Sport's Mark Lawrenson  

    “If Eto’o is going to play on the right, that’s absolutely fine, but for goodness sake, get the ball to him! He must have touched the ball four or five times.”

  33. 43 mins Commentary  

    And instead of criticising and deriding Ross from Leicester (see earlier text), we should really be thanking him for absolutely guaranteeing this would not be a goalless draw.

  34. HALF-TIME Japan 1-0 Cameroon  
  35. Contributor BBC Sport's Emmanuel Adebayor  

    “It’s not been entertainment. I think Japan are playing quite well. They are well organised at the back, and looking to play on the counter. I can’t understand why Samuel Eto’o is on the right. He’s Cameroon’s best player and our main man in Africa. Eto’o is supposed to be at the front.”

  36. 15:53 Commentary  

    According to Infostrada, Cameroon have been behind at half time at the World Cup five times, and never recovered to win. The best they managed was a draw against Chile in 1998.

  37. 16:00 Commentary  

    Mixed messages from Infostrada though, who also report that Japan have only led a World Cup match once at half-time and lost it 3-1 to Australia in 2006.

  38. 16:03 Commentary  

    Samuel Eto'o will stay on the right - for now anyway - as we kick off the second half in Bloemfontein.

  39. 46 mins Commentary  

    Wow. That's the first corner of the match, but Jean Makoun's effort comes to nothing because there's a foul in the box.

  40. 47 mins Commentary  

    Cameroon defender Stephane Mbia, who hardly covered himself in glory for Japan's goal, gives away a free-kick just outside the box on the left touchline, but Japan can't create anything from it.

  41. 48 mins Commentary  

    Much better from Cameroon. Samuel Eto'o beats one man on the right and then jinks between two others. His shirt is being pulled, but the Inter striker stays on his feet and cuts the ball back for Eric Choupo-Moting, who wastefully bends a shot wide. Might be their best chance so far.

  42. Twitter  

    From optajoe: "Three - Total of shots and corners in the first half of Japan v Cameroon (2 shots on target, 1 blocked shot, 0 corners). Grind."

  43. 54 mins Commentary  

    Japan playing some nice football, crisp passing to feet. Cameroon still lacking urgency. Whatever Paul Le Guen said at half-time, it hasn't made a lot of difference.

  44. 56 mins Commentary  

    Here's a bit of urgency. Eric Choupo-Moting drives in from the left, but drags a shot wide of the post. Not much urgency, but a bit.

  45. 606  

    From mem: "Not enough credit is given to Japan. Don't forget that without the own goals, they caused England all sorts of problems, they are technically very good. Le Guen showing what all Rangers fans could have told you, he isn't all that good a manager."

  46. Contributor BBC Sport's Mark Lawrenson  

    "Japan have done OK. There's no doubt they set out for a 0-0, but they've managed to nick a goal. They've got better, there's been some nice interplay in terms of passing, although they don't look like they've got much cuitting edge."

  47. 62 mins SUBSTITUTION  

    Paul Le Guen makes his first change, replacing defensive midfielder Joel Matip with Real Betis forward Achille Emana.

  48. SMS  

    From Chris in Belfast: "Have to say I have been really impressed with Japan's organisation and performance so far considering their terrible preparation, ie losing all warm up games and terrible weather at their base."

  49. 66 mins Commentary  

    Promising... Eric Choupo-Moting is on the overlap on the left but the pass is horribly overhit and all Cameroon get is a corner. Samuel Eto'o takes it, but Japan clear. Eto'o still mystifyingly stranded on the right. So frustrating to watch.

  50. 68 mins SUBSTITUTION  

    A change for Japan now as Daisuke Matsui comes off to be replaced by striker Shinji Okazaki.

  51. 606  

    From ajt__1989: "I know everyone's saying the ball has nothing to do with the performances, but can we really expect that this many international quality players are overhitting this many passes and crosses? The level of play has been abysmal, and I can't believe that's the players."

  52. 71 mins YELLOW CARD  

    A first booking of the game and Nicolas Nkoulou is the unlucky recipient after tripping substitute Shinji Okazaki. It was a trip, but a yellow looked harsh.

  53. 73 mins Commentary  

    Only 17 minutes remaining and Samuel Eto'o finally picks up the ball in a central area, but loses control. If Japan hang on, this will be their first World Cup win outside their own country.

  54. 74 mins SUBSTITUTION  

    Time for the kitchen sink. Paul Le Guen makes his final two substitutions. Geremi and Mohammadou Idrissou come on, Jean Makoun and Eric Choupo-Moting off.

  55. 78 mins Commentary  

    Mohammadou Idrissou wins the ball and canters away down the right, but a heavy touch allows Japan to recover.

  56. 79 mins Commentary  

    Mohammadou Idrissou wins a rather fortunate free-kick now after being played in by Samuel Eto'o. Geremi swings it in but Eiji Kawashima punches well clear.

  57. 81 mins HITS THE WOODWORK  

    Japan so close to a second. Hamidou Souleymanou parries Makoto Hasebe's drive straight into the path of Shinzi Okazaki, who thumps a shot onto the post. He's offside anyway, but hey, we're looking for straws to clutch at here.

  58. Contributor BBC Sport's Mark Lawrenson  

    "Japan are starting to get a little deep now, it's a little bit worrying."

  59. 85 mins HITS THE WOODWORK  

    That might be the best long-range shot I've seen yet at this World Cup. Cameroon defender Stephane Mbia picks up the ball about 30 yards out, steps forward and hammers a swerving shot onto the crossbar. So unlucky.

  60. 86 mins SUBSTITUTION  

    A final change for Japan as captain Makoto Hasebe is replaced by Junichi Inamoto.

  61. SMS  

    From anon: "To ajt, the reason you are seeing so many balls being overhit is that the ball travels a lot further at altitude than the players are used to."

  62. 90 mins Commentary  

    Four minutes of added time remaining. There's a couple of triumphant Japan fans in the crowd who look like they're dressed as skittles. That can't be right though.

  63. 91 mins YELLOW CARD  

    Someone got a yellow for kicking the ball away there. Sorry, I didn't see who. Benoit Assou-Ekotto lofts the free-kick in from the centre circle but it's straight through to the keeper.

  64. 92 mins Commentary  

    Brilliant save by Japan keeper Eiji Kawashima, low to his right from a Mohammadou Idrissou flick. The whistle goes for a free-kick for some pushing by Samuel Eto'o but he wasn't to know that. Japan hanging on now.

  65. 16:51 FULL-TIME Japan 1-0 Cameroon  
  66. Contributor BBC Sport's Alan Shearer  

    "Full credit to Japan. They were well-organised, they defended well, and it would have been harsh if they'd conceded in last five minutes. For Cameroon: a lack of passion, a lack of effort, they didn't seem interested. Samuel Eto'o sulked around the pitch. The coach has got it all wrong. How can you have one of the best strikers in the world playing on the right? He's completely wasted there."

  67. 16:55 Commentary  

    Japan record their first ever World Cup win outside their own country. It's also their first win since beating Bahrain 2-0 in the Asian Cup in March. Cameroon, on that evidence, are a long way from being the best African side at this World Cup (see 14:25 entry). I'd put Ghana, South Africa and Nigeria above them. Maybe even Algeria.

  68. Twitter  

    Sports Illustrated football editor Jen Chang: "Not really surprised that Cameroon were appalling. The fact that they tried to get David N'gog before the WC was a clue about squad quality."

  69. Contributor BBC Sport's Alan Shearer  

    On Eto'o again: "He's a world class player, he's their best player, he should be their figurehead, the focal point of everything. He should be in the box. He's not causing a threat out there [on the right]. He looked lethargic, playing in the wrong position and it looked to me as if he didn't want to be there."

  70. Twitter  

    From optajoe: "Japan had only three shots in their win against Cameroon; the fewest by a winning side in the World Cup finals since 1966. Counter."

  71. 17:10 Commentary  

    And on that statistical bombshell from the brilliant OptaJoe, I shall leave you. Don't stray too far though, Jonathan Stevenson will be back for Italy v Paraguay in a mere 20 minutes. Enough time for a cup of tea and a chocolate-based snack, but nothing more. Bye.

By Marc Vesty

Japan edged out Cameroon in a dour encounter at Bloemfontein's Free State Stadium which produced little in the way of goalmouth action.

A far from capacity crowd witnessed two out-of-form teams struggle to find any inspiration in another tepid World Cup encounter.

After a dire opening half-hour Japan took the lead against the run of play when Dalsuke Matsui's cross looped over Stephane Mbia and was met by Keisuke Honda, who fired in coolly at the back post.

Japan almost doubled the lead when Makoto Hasebe crashed an effort towards goal but it was well saved by Souleymanou Hamidou before the offside Shinji Okazaki clattered the post as he followed up.

Cameroon finally found some urgency in the closing stages as Mbia rattled the crossbar from 25 yards but the well-drilled Japan side were able to hold on and go level with the Netherlands at the top of Group E.

The Blue Samurai, who had lost four straight games in their World Cup build-up before drawing 0-0 with Zimbabwe, set out so defensively it seemed they would be happy with a point from the opening whistle.

And although Cameroon showed more endeavour, the fact that star striker Samuel Eto'o was played wide on the right and was often found lurking very deep meant they lacked any sort of cutting edge.

A 37th-minute shot from Eyong Enoh was the first goalmouth action of the game and, although it was comfortably collected by Japan goalkeeper Eiji Kawashima, it did finally suggest Cameroon may start to find gaps in the Japanese defence.

But the opposite was true as, despite their lack of attacking intent, Japan took a surprise lead one minute later.

Matsui's deep left-footed cross was completely missed by the Cameroon defenders and Honda had time to control the ball before passing into the net.

The Indomitable Lions are the most successful African side in World Cup history having qualified for the World Cup six times, but the pride and passion shown by previous incarnations was sadly lacking in this first tournament on their own continent.

Only one brief moment of class immediately after half time suggested Cameroon might rouse themselves from their slumber.

Three-time African Footballer of the Year Eto'o finally showed a glimpse of his ability when he picked the ball up on the right and beat two men on his way into the area before squaring to Maxim Choupo-Moting but the striker could not control his finish and blasted over the bar.

But that impetus was not to last and it was not until the 85th minute that Cameroon found two efforts which could have stolen them a point.

In a moment of inspiration totally out keeping with the rest of the game, Mbia hammered a stunning effort towards goal from 25 yards which crashed off the crossbar and following that Kawashima saved from Pierre Webo in injury time.

In fairness to Japan the Asian side's tactics worked almost perfectly as they defended solidly but on this evidence the Netherlands and Denmark will have little to worry about going into the tournament's second week.

Japan Japan Flag 1-0 Cameroon Flag Cameroon FT

(HT 1-0)

Honda, 38






  • Venue: Free State stadium
  • Referee: O Benquerenca
  • Attendance: 31,600
Japan     Cameroon
  • Possession 50%
  • Attempts on target 3
  • Attempts off target 1
  • Corners 0
  • Fouls 17

Projected table based on current scores

Group A

Group A teams P W D L F A GD PTS
Uruguay 3 2 1 0 4 0 4 7
Mexico 3 1 1 1 3 2 1 4
South Africa 3 1 1 1 3 5 -2 4
France 3 0 1 2 1 4 -3 1

Group B

Group B teams P W D L F A GD PTS
Argentina 3 3 0 0 7 1 6 9
South Korea 3 1 1 1 5 6 -1 4
Greece 3 1 0 2 2 5 -3 3
Nigeria 3 0 1 2 3 5 -2 1

Group C

Group C teams P W D L F A GD PTS
USA 3 1 2 0 4 3 1 5
England 3 1 2 0 2 1 1 5
Slovenia 3 1 1 1 3 3 0 4
Algeria 3 0 1 2 0 2 -2 1

Group D

Group D teams P W D L F A GD PTS
Germany 3 2 0 1 5 1 4 6
Ghana 3 1 1 1 2 2 0 4
Australia 3 1 1 1 3 6 -3 4
Serbia 3 1 0 2 2 3 -1 3

Group E

Group E teams P W D L F A GD PTS
Netherlands 3 3 0 0 5 1 4 9
Japan 3 2 0 1 4 2 2 6
Denmark 3 1 0 2 3 6 -3 3
Cameroon 3 0 0 3 2 5 -3 0

Group F

Group F teams P W D L F A GD PTS
Paraguay 3 1 2 0 3 1 2 5
Slovakia 3 1 1 1 4 5 -1 4
New Zealand 3 0 3 0 2 2 0 3
Italy 3 0 2 1 4 5 -1 2

Group G

Group G teams P W D L F A GD PTS
Brazil 3 2 1 0 5 2 3 7
Portugal 3 1 2 0 7 0 7 5
Ivory Coast 3 1 1 1 4 3 1 4
North Korea 3 0 0 3 1 12 -11 0

Group H

Group H teams P W D L F A GD PTS
Spain 3 2 0 1 4 2 2 6
Chile 3 2 0 1 3 2 1 6
Switzerland 3 1 1 1 1 1 0 4
Honduras 3 0 1 2 0 3 -3 1

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