NETHERLANDS 
v
JAPAN
Group E
Durban, Durban
19 June, 1700 hours IST (+0530 GMT)

After securing all three points in their opening round of matches, this encounter presents a glorious opportunity for both the Japanese and the Dutch to cement their place in the round of 16. The Netherlands, for all their flair, were a bit under par against the Danes but they got the job done. Netherlands coach Bert van Marwijk stressed the importance of winning their opening match as a good beginning. Japan weren’t any different either with an uninspiring display of football which saw them take a grand total of three shots on goal in 90 minutes of pretty dismal football. To their credit , they hung in there and managed to eke out a victory.

The Dutch looked pretty solid in the middle of the park with Nigel de Jong being the stand out performer, keeping the Danes at bay. Wesley Sneijder, on the back of a treble winning season with Inter, was a bit subdued at times and wasted a lot of free kicks from potentially dangerous positions. Mark Van Bommel was his usual annoying self.  Dirk Kuyt’s industrious approach is pivotal for this Dutch team renowned for their attacking football, and the Liverpool marksmen got his reward – a goal that sealed the win for his country. Interestingly enough, Robben’s recovery from injury poses a strange selection dilemma for Marwijk. Robben is probably Netherland’s most potent weapon along with Robin Van Persie and commands a regular starting slot. It will be fascinating to see who gets the axe.

Keisuke Honda’s 39th minute goal was enough to give Japan a 1-0 victory against much fancied Cameroon. The momentum has to be maintained but it would certainly be much tougher against the Dutch. The Asians might have to rely on Eiji Kawashima to bale them out once again, just as he did against the Africans, with a series of notable saves. The Kawasaki Frontale shot-stopper has only represented his country in a handful of internationals but, going by his performance against Cameroon, he is definitely one to watch out for. Takeshi Okada has injected a great work ethic amongst his players and nobody can blame Japan for a lack of effort. The same though cannot be said about the lack of class in the attacking third.

All things considered, the obvious gulf in the quality of the two squads is there for all to see and it would be a major shock if the Dutch fail to come out with a convincing victory. The Oranje are by no means one of the favorites but certainly contenders in their own right and, without the added baggage of expectations, may go all the way.

World Cup Head-to-Head Record: This is their first ever meeting in a World Cup.

World Cup Win-Loss Stats:

Netherlands: Played 36, Won 16, Lost 10, Drawn 10
Japan: Played 11, Won 3, Lost 6, Drawn 2

Other key facts:

(1) Holland have won all three of their World Cup games against Asian sides, scoring 10 goals in the process.
(2) Japan had only three shots in their win against Cameroon; the fewest by a winning side in the World Cup finals since 1966.
3) Japan have faced a European side in the World Cup finals on five previous occasions, winning only once and failing to score on three occasions.

Player to watch out for:
Wesley Sneijder (Holland)
Against Denmark, Wesley Sneijder completed 61 of his 65 passes (94 per cent), creating five goal scoring chances for his teammates. Sneijder is in the form of his life and there are not many better than him in that position.

June 14, 2010 - 06035131 date 14 06 2010 Copyright imago Sven Simon cheering NED with v l Giovanni van Bronckhorst Rafael van the Vaart Robin van Persie Nigel de Jong Wesley Sneijder Joris Mathijsen John Heitinga Mark van Bommel Gregory van the Wiel Fight Netherlands NED Denmark the at 13 06 2010 in Johannesburg Football Weltmeistschaft 2010 in of 11 06 11 07 2010 Johannesburg men Football World Cup National team international match Action shot Vdig xub 2010 horizontal Highlight premiumd.

He's the man!

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GHANA
v
AUSTRALIA
Group D

Royal Bafokeng, Rustenburg
19 June, 1930 hours IST (+0530 GMT)

The Ghanaians and the Aussies come face to face with completely contrasting fortunes. After being battered and bruised by the swashbuckling Germans, the Socceroos will be looking for some much needed redemption whereas the Africans will be sensing more blood after defeating the much hyped Serbians in their group opener. This one is a mouth watering clash, probably because ever since the draw was made, Group D has been viewed as the toughest one to predict with all four nations standing a chance of qualifying. For the Aussies, defeat isn’t  an option as they risk elimination if they fail to defeat the Black Stars.

The nightmare at Durban might still be troubling the Australians but like professionals they have to put that defeat behind them and come out all guns blazing. Tim Cahill would surely be missed and without a renowned striker in their ranks, its hard to see where the goals will come from. That won’t be their only problem though as a four goal humbling at the hands of Germans has exposed large gaping holes in the Aussie backline, which has experienced internationals like captain Lucas Neill and Brett Emerton. Craig Moore could see himself dropped for this one after his disappointing display against the Germans. Mark Schwarzer might be a busy man once again if his defenders put on another shambolic display. Harry Kewell was an unused sub against Germany and, fitness permitting, should be starting this one..

Zdravko Kuzmanovic’s  handball gifted Ghana a penalty in the final stages and they took full advantage of it , running out 1-0 winners. If they win this one, they book themselves a place in the final 16 whereas a defeat would leave them with the prospect of facing the Germans in the final group encounter, an extremely daunting task. Even without the supremely talented Michel Essien, the Ghanaians hardly looked troubled and, in fact, made the much favored Serbians look rather ordinary. Asamoah Gyan lookes more than a hand full and, with a knack of scoring in every other game, nobody would bet against him adding to his tally.

This is a tough one to call and a moment of brilliance or one of madness could decide the outcome of this encounter. The Africans would be favorites going into this one but a moment of madness could prove quite fatal for either team.

World Cup Head-to-Head Record: This is their first ever meeting in a World Cup.

World Cup Win-Loss Stats:

Ghana: Played 5, Won 3, Lost 2, Drawn 0
Australia: Played 8, Won 1, Lost 5, Drawn 2

Other key facts:

(1) Ghana and Australia have met six times so far, each time in friendlies: the Socceroos lead the head-to-head by four wins to one, and are unbeaten in the last three meetings.
2) Ghana are yet to draw after five games at World Cup finals, winning three so far.
3) Five players have been sent off in the last three World Cup matches involving Australia.

Player to watch out for:
Asamoah Gyan (Ghana)
This man is a goal machine and it will not be long before big Eurpean clubs come calling. He has all the attributes to be a top marksmen and could guide his nation into the pre quarters.

June 13, 2010 - Durban, South Africa - epa02200150 Australian national soccer team players (top row, L-R) Richard Garcia, goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer, Craig Moore, Vince Grella, Scott Chipperfield, Brett Emerton, (front row L-R) Tim Cahill, Lucas Neill, Carl Valeri, Jason Culina, Luke Wilkshire pose for photographers before the FIFA World Cup 2010 group D preliminary round match between Germany and Australia at the Durban stadium, Durban, South Africa, 13 June 2010.

Team Australia

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CAMEROON
v
DENMARK
Group E
Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria
19 June, 2330 hours IST (+0530 GMT)

The Danes might not be one of the fancied teams but certainly have enough about them to qualify from the group and will need a win against the Africans to do so. A Defeat against the Dutch has left them with little option but to go for a win as a defeat could spell an early end to their World Cup campaign. The Indomitable Lions on the other hand were a major disappointment as they succumbed to the Japanese in a match they should have won if they harbored any hopes of qualifying. However all is not lost and a win against the Scandinavian nation could certainly put them on their way. A must win as they say for both of them and that points to an open and attacking game of football, just what this World Cup needs.

The Danes lacked any real penetration and looked largely devoid of ideas against the Netherlands. Strange as it may seem, Nicklas Bendtner started after being ruled out by Denmark coach Morten Olsen but the tall striker missed a clear opportunity in the first-half when the game was still scoreless. The calamitous own goal took the wind out of the Danish sails and they never really recovered from there onwards. Flair is certainly not their middle name but grit and determination has always been linked with them and they would have to bring in all those qualities to the table as they look to grind out a win.

Cameroon would be kicking themselves after the shoddy performance  against the Japanese. The Africans will now have to do it the hard way and get a result against the Danish and the Dutch.  Paul Le Guen decided on an adventurous 4-3-3 formation but by doing so had to play Eto’o in a wide position and leave Alex Song on the bench, a decision he might need to rethink. The Lions basically lacked composure on the ball and somebody like a Song could rectify that issue. Samuel Eto’o has to take up the goal scoring responsibilities and deliver. Much was made of his spat with Cameroonian legend Roger Milla and Eto’o must step up to win back some hearts.

Another tough one to call with both teams desperate to get a win under their belts. Both look goal shy though and this may prove to be dampener. One thing is for sure  – there won’t be any lack of effort.

World Cup Head-to-Head Record: This is their first ever meeting in a World Cup.

World Cup Win-Loss Stats:

Cameroon: Played 17, Won 4, Lost 6, Drawn 7
Denmark: Played 13, Won 7, Lost 4, Drawn 2

Other key facts:

(1) Both encounters between Cameroon and Denmark have ended 2-1 with each team winning once.
(2) Denmark are unbeaten against African sides in the World Cup (one win and two draws).
(3) Cameroon have won just one of their last 11 matches at World Cup finals, and have lost the last two without scoring.

June 14, 2010 - South Africa - Football - Japan v Cameroon FIFA World Cup South Africa 2010 - Group E - Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein, South Africa - 14/6/10..Cameroon's Samuel Eto'o reacts.

Eto'o - Cameroon's last hope

Player to watch out for:
Samuel Eto’o (Cameroon)
Undoubted class and quality, Eto’o is the man for the big occasions, having scored in the Champions league final on more than one occasion.


One Response to “World Cup‘10 – Day 9: PREVIEW”

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  1. Netherlands have won their three World Cup games against Asian sides, scoring ten goals in the process. 😀