Japan vs. Cameroon Free State Stadium Bloemfontein, South Africa 10 AM EST Monday June 14, 2010
by Jason Green of Predictem.com
Match Odds: Japan 3.50 / Cameroon 2.10 / Draw 3.20
Over/Under: 2.5 goals
Moneyline: Japan +260 / Cameroon +105 / Draw +220
In the second Group E match and the opening World Cup match for both teams Japan takes on Cameroon. Cameroon is one of the best teams in Africa and has one of the most popular players in Samuel Eto’o of Inter Milan. They will also have a bit of a home field advantage in this match.
Japan head coach Takeshi Okada stated that his goals was to reach the semifinals of the World Cup in Africa saying, “South Korea reached the last four, why can’t we?” North Korea was the host in 2002 and it is interesting that the host nation has won 6 of the 18 World Cups and have advanced to the knockout phase every time.
Japan lacks many world-class players, but they have a solid defense and the play a great team game. They are great passers and they play a very fluid style with a lot of ball movement. Cameroon will have to disrupt their passing and not allow Japan to dominate the time of possession.
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While Cameroon has some solid strikers Japan lacks a big name striker and they may have to get their scoring from the midfield and on counter-attacks. Cameroon also has a legit defense so it will not be easy for Japan to score. Maybe Japan’s best chance is to keep the ball away from Eto’o, who will take advantage of every mistake by Japan.
Since Japan will key on Eto’o the other players for Cameroon should have space and they will need to take advantage of that.
It is interesting that Japan generally struggles against African teams and that is not good for this match, as Cameroon is obviously in Africa. You can see this fact, as Japan lost to Ivory Coast 2-0 in their last World Cup tune-up.
Neither team played great in their World Cup tune up matches, as Japan lost all 3 and Cameroon lost 2 and drew one. However, Cameroon scored 5 goals in the 3 matches and Japan only scored 1.
Japan Recent Form:
6/4/2010 Japan 0 Ivory Coast 2 (Friendly)
5/30/2010 England 2 Japan 1 (Friendly)
5/24/2010 Japan 0 South Korea 2 (Friendly)
Cameroon Recent Form:
6/5/2010 Serbia 4 Cameroon 3 (Friendly)
6/1/2010 Portugal 3 Cameroon 1 (Friendly)
5/29/2010 Slovakia 1 Cameroon 1 (Friendly)
Center backs Marcus Tulio and Yuji Nakazawa of Japan will be counted on to thwart the attack of Cameroon and if they have a good match it gives Japan a solid chance to win, or at least draw.
The anchor of the Cameroon defense is G Idriss Carlos Kameni of Espanyol, as he is arguably the best goalie from Africa. Look for him to have a good match and since Japan lacks firepower up front I think he will keep a clean sheet.
Cameroon are a great squad at beginning the offense with their defense, as if Japan gets caught off-guard they may be in trouble with all the scoring options that Cameroon has.
Cameroon has Defensive midfielder Alex Song of Arsenal and he will keep Japan from attacking and he will push the ball forward to Eto’o and company.
Eto’o will be keyed on by the Japan defense, but he is on center stage on his home continent and I still think he will score in this match.
Keisuke Honda is a very offensive minded midfielder and he will have to provide Japan with some scoring in this World Cup, but he will not score in this match.
Jason’s Pick: Cameroon has a lot of talent and their offense is simply too much for the solid Japanese defense to handle. I think the first half will be a scoreless draw, but Cameroon will come out after the break and score at least one goal, as they will win this match by a score of 1-0 or 2-0.