Day nine World Cup action round-up – Aussies show fighting spirit while Cameroon bow out

The ninth day of the tournament saw Group E take shape, while Ghana failed to capitalize on a glorious opportunity to make it two wins from two. The Netherlands got the job done with a narrow 1-0 victory over a resilient Japanese side while Denmark set up a deciding encounter with Japan, coming from behind to defeat Cameroon 2-1, knocking the Africans out of the World Cup.

HOLLAND 1
Sneijder 53

JAPAN 0

Holland maintained their 100 percent record with a 1-0 victory over a spirited Japanese side, who had frustrated the Dutch for long periods of the game.

Adopting similar tactics used in their win over Cameroon, Japan kept as many players behind the ball as possible early on and successfully restricted the Netherlands to just a handful of efforts on goal in the opening 45 minutes.

The Dutch began the second half attacking with a lot more fluency and took the lead 8 minutes after the break when Wesley Sneijder’s strike from the edge of the area appeared to swerve in the air, causing goalkeeper Eiji Kawashima to misjudge the strike eventually finding the net.

With the emphasis now on Japan to find an equalisier, the game became stretched and Dutch substitutes Eljero Elia and Ibrahim Afellay combined well on numerous occasions with Afellay being denied twice by Kawashima.

Dutch goalkeeper Maarten Stelkenburg was rarely troubled late on as the Netherlands took their group tally to six points, all but securing their progress to the last 16.

GHANA 1
Asamoah Gyan 25 (pen)

AUSTRALIA 1
Holman 11, Kewell sent off 24

Australia picked up their first point of the tournament with a battling 1-1 draw against Ghana in Rustenburg.

The Socceroos took a shock lead 11 minutes in, when Richard Kingson failed to push Mark Bresciano’s free kick to safety and midfielder Brett Holman reacted quickest to fire home. Ghana responded well though and were rewarded with a penalty just 13 minutes later when Harry Kewell was judged to have cleared a goal bound effort off the line with his arm and as a result was also given a straight red card for his actions.

Asamoah Gyan made it two penalties from two for the tournament, sending Mark Schwarzer the wrong way to level at one a piece.

Just before the break Kevin-Prince Boateng produced a fine effort on goal but Schwarzer was equal to it, turning it to safety at full stretch to keep the scores level at half time.

Both Scott Chipperfield and Luke Wilkshere missed glorious chances to put Australia ahead in the second half as Ghana looked rattled.

Defender John Mensah had Ghana’s best chance to snatch a winner on 80 minutes when he rose unchallenged at the back post but headed wide of the target.

The sides would eventually share the spoils. For Australia, a point that keeps alive their slim hopes of reaching the knockout stages.

DENMARK 2
Bendtner 33, Rommedahl 61

CAMEROON 1
Eto’o 10

Cameroon received the unwanted honour of being the first side to exit the competition, after a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Denmark in an action packed encounter.

Having been deployed on the right wing against Japan to little effect, Samuel Eto’o was moved to a central striking role by Coach Paul Le Guen and it immediately paid dividends when he pounced on some sloppy defending to coolly slot home past Thomas Sorensen and give Cameroon an early lead.

Denmark were looking dangerous down the right wing with Denis Rommedahl and Lars Jacobsen causing problems and they combined again for Rommedahl to whip a dangerous cross into the path of Nicklas Bendtner who equalised for the Danes.

Morten Olsen’s side then took the lead after 61 minutes when Rommedahl got the better of Jean Makoun before bending a glorious strike into the far corner.

In response, Achille Emana, who had looked a threat throughout broke into the penalty area before his shot that looked destined for the bottom corner was kept out after a world class save from Thomas Sorensen.

That was the last effort of any note by Cameroon who despite their best efforts to find the goal that would keep them in the tournament, were eventually defeated and knocked out of the World Cup.

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