Cameroon defeated by Japan

Japan 1 Cameroon 0

Keisuke Honda enjoyed a belated birthday celebration as Japan regained that winning mentality.

The CSKA Moscow attacker, 24 yesterday, got the all-important goal after 39 minutes of the Group E match at the Free State Stadium.



It meant a long-awaited victory for coach Takeshi Okada, who had seen his side lose four and draw one of their warm-up matches, scoring only one goal in the process.



He had claimed before the game, however, he was not worried about Japan's poor form going into the competition.



While Okada opted for a lone striker in Yoshito Okubo, his Cameroon counterpart Paul Le Guen decided on an adventurous 4-3-3 formation.



Despite being one of Africa's brightest hopes Cameroon were toothless, despite having a great deal of possession, although goalkeeper Eiji Kawashima made a breathtaking save from substitute Mohamadou Idrissou in stoppage time.



Much was expected of skipper Samuel Eto'o but the Inter Milan striker was left frustrated as Japan defended in numbers.



Le Guen saw his side carve out the first opening of the game in the eighth minute when Eto'o released Pierre Webo.



He raced to the byline and played the ball into the middle but Eyong Enoh was unable to get a decent touch.



Kawashima then made a good block from Enoh's close range effort before Japan made the breakthrough.



The Cameroon defence failed to cut out Daisuke Matsui's cross to the back post and Honda reacted quickly. He got a superb first touch before clipping the ball beyond a stranded Souleymanou Hamidou.



It was just what Japan wanted and they had also kept Eto'o quiet in the first half.



Cameroon came out with a purpose at the start of the second half and should have equalised in the 49th minute.



Eto'o got the better of two players in a determined run. He played the ball into the path of Eric Choupo-Moting who was clear in front of goal.



However the striker failed to test Kawashima, his effort going wide of the post to Japan's relief.



Cameroon were enjoying a decent spell and Choupo-Moting cut inside only to drag his shot off target.



However Japan almost added a second goal in the 82nd minute when they launched a swift counter-attack.



Makoto Hasebe's shot was parried by the goalkeeper but only landed at the feet of substitute Shinji Ozakaki, who saw the rebound come off the outside of the left post.



Cameroon responded and three minutes later Stephane Mbia's instinctive effort rattled the bar.



With the crowd urging them, Cameroon kept pushing players forward in search of the equaliser but Japan stood firm.



However they had to rely on Kawashima right at the end to give them the victory they had craved.



The Kawasaki Frontale shot-stopper has only recently taken the jersey and it was easy to understand why as Cameroon were left frustrated.



Former Lyon, Rangers and Paris St Germain boss Le Guen was hoping Cameroon would make it through to the quarter-finals, but this opening defeat makes that looks an outside bet at the moment, with group rivals Holland also chalking up a victory earlier in the day.



PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
The cartoon depicts the UK (far left) walking around a Syrian child refugee
newsIn an exclusive artwork for The Independent, Ali Ferzat attacks Britain's lack of 'humanity'
Life and Style
tech
Sport
footballManager attacks Sky Sports pundit Jamie Redknapp after criticism of Diego Costa's apparent stamping
News
video
Life and Style
food + drink
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

Holocaust Memorial Day

Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

Magnetic north

The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness
Homeless Veterans appeal: Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story

Homeless Veterans appeal

Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story
Front National family feud? Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks

Front National family feud?

Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks
Pot of gold: tasting the world’s most expensive tea

Pot of gold

Tasting the world’s most expensive tea
10 best wildlife-watching experiences: From hen harriers to porpoises

From hen harriers to porpoises: 10 best wildlife-watching experiences

While many of Britain's birds have flown south for the winter, it's still a great time to get outside for a spot of twitching
Nick Easter: 'I don’t want just to hold tackle bags, I want to be out there'

'I don’t want just to hold tackle bags, I want to be out there'

Nick Easter targeting World Cup place after England recall
DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

The inside track on France's trial of the year

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
As provocative now as they ever were

Sarah Kane season

Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore