World Cup overview: Cameroon, Denmark, Holland, Japan
Cameroon enters the 2010 World Cup with one of the most talented squads they will ever have. With players like Benoit Assou-Ekotto, Sebastien Bassong, Alexandre Song, and Captain and Inter Milan star Samuel Eto’o. The lions enter this tournament with a favourable draw where they will have to play Denmark and Japan in their first two games and their hard game against Holland might come when the Dutch won’t be playing their best 11. The favourable schedule will only help Cameroon if they win at least one of their first games or they could be making a quick exit from the World Cup.
Last year Alex Song was a regular bench player for Arsenal. This year Song was able to break into Arsene Wegner’s Starting 11 and never looked back. Now looked at as one of the best holding midfielders in the Premiership the 22 year old can on his day will neutralize the best attackers in the world, which will be key against a star studded team like Holland. If Song has a successful World Cup with some timely goals from Samuel Eto’o the Lions of Cameroon may turn a few heads.
Denmark had a very impressive qualifying round for the 2010 finals. Beating out very tough teams like Sweden, and Portugal, the Danes play a tough physical game and are never scared of putting a hard tackle in. With strong center backs like Liverpool’s Daniel Agger, and Fiorentina’s Per Kroldrup, the Danes have to play this physical style in their first game against a very talented Dutch team or it could turn into a route. This would force Denmark to have good results against Japan, and Cameroon.
Denmark although known for their physical, defensive style, will need finishing from their Strikers. This duty falls to Nicklas Bendtner. Bendtner lacked finishing for his club Arsenal, and for the style that Denmark plays if Bendtner doesn’t finish his chances the Danes will make a quick exit.
Holland has the similar approach to every major tournament. Look unstoppable in Group play and get their passionate fans excited about finally lifting a World Cup. But when the knock out round comes around they play atrocious soccer and go out deservedly. Expected to get out of Group E without any trouble, the Dutch are expected to make a Semi Final appearance which might be pushing it, but with some of the Attacking talent of a healthy Arjen Robben, Dirk Kuyt, Robin Van Persie, and Wesley Sneijder, nothing is out of the question for the Dutch.
Holland always entertains fans with their attacking style. But this style usually leads to the downfall of the Dutch. Johnny Heitinga had a very good season for Everton of the English Premier League and will have to control the Dutch backline and be relied on to not make the usual mistakes that Dutch defenders are prone to making.
The Japanese are entering this World Cup with the expectation of getting past the Group Stage. The draw did not help the Japanese they have to play 3 very tough teams in Holland, Cameroon, and Denmark. Japan seems to play for one goal and then hang back and defend for their lives which means the key for Japan is to score the first goal or they are in trouble. The Japanese are long shots in Group E but they still have to play games and you never know they may just pull off a surprise.
Shunsuke Nakamura was once a very dynamic midfielder in Europe, but in recent years his speed dropped off and he now relies on his skill and distribution of the ball to keep him at a high level. The Ex Celtic Midfielder is expected to be involved in the Japanese’s attack and will have to contribute greatly or it will lead to a certain exit for Japan.