WC 2010: Honda drives Japan to win over Cameroon
Bloemfontein: Keisuke Honda carried Japan to their first World Cup finals victory on foreign soil when he scored the goal which beat Cameroon 1-0 in a Group E match on Monday.
Paul Le Guen`s Cameroon had been expected to ease to victory against an out-of-form Japan in what on paper appeared their easiest group fixture.
Takeshi Okada`s Japan had other ideas and bustled their way to a deserved win to join the Netherlands as the day`s Group E winners after the Dutch beat Denmark 2-0 in the early match.
A dour first half was briefly illuminated by Honda`s 39th minute goal. Daisuke Matsui was allowed time and space on the right wing to float in a cross that evaded everyone but Honda at the far post, who finished neatly.
Cameroon had registered the game`s first shot on goal shortly before Honda`s strike but the Indomitable Lions failed on too many occasions to feed the ball to their front three.
They improved after the break with captain Samuel Eto`o beating four players down the right wing before setting up Eric Choupo Moting, who curled his shot wide of the far post.
Cameroon`s Stephane Mbia hit the bar late on with a rasping 30 metre drive but the African side, who left normal first-choice midfielder Alexandre Song on the bench, did not threaten enough as Japan left Honda up front while the rest defended their lead.