It was certainly a shock to many soccer fans when coach, Paul Le Guen decided to take on the Cameroon job. The Frenchman’s introduction as team boss marked a turn of fortune for the African team, who arrive in South Africa full of confidence after some fine performances in World Cup qualification, where they eventually finished top of their group. Takeshi Okada’s Japan team were one of the first countries to claim their place at South Africa 2010, but eventually came second to Australia in Asian World Cup qualification after a poor run late in the qualification campaign. Both teams will be going into this game at the Free State Stadium expecting a tightly fought contest.
Cameroon vs Japan Odds for June 14th World Cup Match:
Over 2.5 (+116)
Under 2.5 (-131)
The Indomitable Lions of Cameroon will be relying on their sensational stopper Idris Carlos Kameni (Espanyol) and speedy striker Samuel Eto’o (Inter Milan) to guide the team to success in South Africa. Cameroon has a well-balanced team with quality in all the key areas of the field. Midfield enforcer Alexander Song has enjoyed a solid season with Arsenal in the Premier League and Cameroon will be hoping that Song and the consistently under-rated Jean Makoun (Lyon) can protect what will be a youthful and inexperienced backline for’s Paul Le Guen’s team. Cameroon will look to use Samuel Eto’s pace to their tactical advantage. Watch for constant runs in behind the opposition defense from the Inter Milan man, who has hopefully put his disciplinary problems behind him after a year under strict coach Jose Mourinho in Italy.
With Takeshi Okada at the helm, this Japanese squad certainly has the potential to surprise a few people at South Africa 2010. Japan’s best ever World Cup performance was in the tournament they co-hosted with Korea in 2002, when coach Philippe Troussier led the team to a second round finish. The squad for the 2010 tournament contains mostly familiar faces. Shunsuke Nakamura (Yokohama F. Marinos) will be the set-piece master, with his laser-like left-footed delivery from corners and free-kicks causing problems for opposition defenses .While veteran goalkeeper Yoshikatsu Kawaguchi was given a surprise call up to play in his fourth World Cup tournament. There are though some younger talents among Okada’s squad for South Africa 2010. These new World Cup additions include the likes of energetic Wolfsburg midfielder, Makoto Hasebe and the much-hyped Takayuki Morimoto, the 21-year old whose performances with Catania in Serie A earlier in the season saw him linked with moves to some of Europe’s biggest clubs. Japan will look to play a short-passing game and get the ball to Nakamura’s left foot at every opportunity, allowing their energetic midfield to get into the box and on the end of the winger’s expert delivery.
The key to this game will be Cameroon’s strength in central midfield. A midfield pairing of Jean Makoun and Alexander Song is the envy of most international teams. That’s why it’s hard to argue with the bookmakers who suggest that this Cameroon team will be far too powerful for a Japanese squad who don’t have the strength in their team to match the Indomitable Lions on the day.
Cameroon vs Japan Prediction: Cameroon 1-0 Japan
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