What are the chances of day nine bringing us back to reality in this years world cup? Netherlands will be the first to try against Japan, another fellow winner during the first group games while their fellow group rivals Cameroon and Denmark will attempt their to kick start their World Cup campaign. In between, Ghana and Australia will want to capitalize upon Germany’s defeat on Friday as Group D sets to go down to the final day.
12.30pm –Durban Stadium, Durban Port
While the manner of their victory against Denmark may have not been in the entertaining fashion we have come to expect from Netherlands, Bert van Marwijk’s side showed resilience previous Dutch sides have been devoid of. Their defence had come under much scrutiny in the lead up the tournament, but up against the threat posed by Nicklas Bendtner amongst others, they excelled. With their first World Cup win outside of their own country under their belts, confidence is naturally high in the Japanese camp. Keisuke Honda will again be given the responsibility of trying to find the net, as he was in their opening game against Cameroon. While Japan’s main man comes into game in good form, Netherlands’ big player Arjen Robben yet again looks set to start from the bench after taking part in his first training session. Rafael Van der Vart is set to play instead of the Bayern Munich winger, despite his lackluster performance against Denmark.
GHANA vs. AUSTRALIA
3pm –Royal Bafokeng, Rustenburg
Some African pride was retained in South Africa by Ghana as they overcame a poor Serbian side in their opening game. As expected Asamoah Gyan was the difference in Pretoria, and against a depleted Australian side, he’ll provide plenty of thrust for yhe Ghanaians.The loss of Tim Cahill, for just one game after a belated appeal, will hurt the chances of the Green and Gold, and with Harry Kewell on the sidelines due to injury it’s hard to see where the Australian’s will score goals. Kewell may well make a surprise return, and could join Josh Kennedy up front, who was overlooked for a defensive minded approach against Germany. A defeat for Australia would end their hopes of a place in the last-16, while a win for Ghana would all but assure their spot in the knockout stages. Kevin Prince Boateng is expected to keep his place in the side, and will win just his third cap for Ghana, as they attempt to qualify for the knockout stages of the World Cup for the second consecutive year.
CAMEROON vs. DENMARK
7.30pm –Loftus Versfeld Stadium, Pretoria
Two of the more tame performances in the opening group games of the World Cup came from Cameroon and Denmark, who are now firmly on the back foot in Group E. The selection of Samuel Eto’o on the right hand side, where he was ineffectual for the Africans contributed to their problems going forward. He’s expected to be used in a more central position during their must win encounter with Denmark. Cameroon might have used their finest attacking talent out of position, but Denmark have been devoid of their’s since the beginning of the tournament. Jon Dahl Tomasson looks no more likely to be introduced as he continues to train alone, with Nicklas Bendtner expected to be preferred upfront.
Dennis Rommedahl will retain his position behind the front man, with the highly rated Christian Poulsen also set to continue in an unchanged Danish side. Paul Le Guen’s side might be unchanged as well, but their style of play, and not least their tactical approach will have to change if their interest in South Africa is not to end.