It was make or break, do or die, in Pretoria for two teams trying to avoid being the first to go out, and it was Denmark who lived to fight another day after an exhilarating 2-1 victory that also made Holland the first team to go through to the last 16.
Dennis Rommedahl, fast approaching his 32nd birthday, was pivotal in dragging the Danes back from behind to win, setting up Nicolas Bendtner to equalise Samuel Eto'o's 10th-minute opener and then putting away the winner himself.
He was delighted with a good job done. "It was a tough game right up to the last minute," he said. "We had a terrible start. But we created a lot of chances in the second half, when it became a more open game."
After Cameroon's opening 1-0 defeat by Japan and subsequent player discontent over team selection, coach Paul le Guen named Alexandre Song, Gérémi and Achille Emana in midfield and played Eto'o up the middle.
The changes took 10 minutes to have an impact when Denmark, who conceded a comedy own goal against Holland in their opening match, at least made Cameroon put the ball in the net themselves. A lazy clearance by Simon Kjaer gave Achille Webo the ball on the left and his cross was dispatched by the unchallenged Eto'o.
A perfect start, but the lead lasted only 23 minutes before Kjaer redeemed himself with a stunning 60-yard pass to release Rommedahl down the right. His perfect cross eluded the diving Hamidou Souleymanou to present Bendtner with a sliding tap-in.
Cue Cameroon's endearing Total Chaos – their answer to Total Football – which brought frantic action at both ends. One minute Song was hurling himself through defensive disarray to block Jon Dahl Tomasson's right-foot drive – Martin Jorgensen's follow-up went over – the next Eto'o was thumping a fierce shot against the post at the other end.
The half-timebreak had a calming effect and the second half started in a more measured style with Webo trying his luck before it was time for a reminder of Danish dynamite of old.
Rommedahl collected Bendtner's pass on the right, produced a burst of pace in turning back across Benoît Assou-Ekotto and curled a shot inside the far post to put the Danes ahead.
Now the game really opened up as Cameroon sought the goal they needed to stay in contention. Song and Tomasson exchanged shots before Souleymanou had to race out to deny Rommedahl and Thomas Sorensen was stretched to keep out a shot from Emana, denying Cameroon salvation.
Referee: Jorge Larrionda (Uruguay)
Man of the match: Rommedahl
Match rating: 7/10