Sunday, June 13, 2010
The main fact:
A group with all teams and rich history in International football despite of world champion.
Coach : Paul Le Guen
Appearances : 5
Best Result : Quarterfinals, 1990
FIFA Rank : 19th
Key : Assou Ekotto, Alexandre Song, Eto'o.
Cameroon is the most decorated African nation with good mix of experience and youth. As it has a goalkeeper such as Kameni, then defender's Ekotto, Makoun, to midfielder Song, Webo, as well as a predator Samuel Eto'o, it's a really bit unfair to label Cameroon as one man team. They got quality, as we know Eto'o is probably their best ever player, and the Arsenal's midfielder Song who needs to maintain his discipline a bit to overcome all opponents. They won their group relatively easy, clearly it's time for Cameroon to provide more joyous moments to recall the pressure and live up to expectations. After being the first African team when the leader Roger Milla captured the quarter finals in World Cup '90, the Indomitable Lions has always had a lot of pressure. A big opportunity will come at their first match to over Japan, or they have to home soon after suffering in last match against Netherlands. Also it's important to believe in themselves given that they are an African side and would be buoyed by a "home" support.
Coach : Morten Olsen
Appearances ; 3
Best Result : Quarterfinals 1998
FIFA Rank : 36th
Key : Simon Kjaer, Cristian Poulsen, Niklas Bendtner.
As one of the most veteran team in the tournament, the Danes plays a tough-physical style led by experienced players such as Dennis Rommedahl, Soren Larsen, Poulsen and Tomasson. They can depend on the strong defense of Stoke's goalkeeper Thomas Sorensen, then ability to counterattack quickly from midfield with some younger talent Simon Kjaer to Arsenal's striker Nicklas Bendtner to keep its track. They are rewarded by an incredible World Cup qualification success, wins away against Portugal and slams old enemy Sweden. Denmark comes in as a strong European team that can definitely play, may be better than their Euro'92. While they are certainly be difficult to beat, the presence of Daniel Agger and Soren Larsen as top scorer of five qualifier goals will give them a stronger cutting edge than in the recent years. If Denmark ties Netherlands in opening match just like last year, they are a team that so ready to make the next round.
Coach : Bert van Marwijk
Appearances : 8
Best Result : Runner-up 1974 and 1978
FIFA Rank : 4th
Key : Wesley Sneijder, Arjen Robben, Robin Van Persie.
They blend a combination of skill and discipline that take them far into the rounds of any tournaments. They are so strong upfront and in the midfield, tight on defense, they are always boast a great team with great-skillful players. They invented "Total Football" and wearing the most recognized kit in this business, possibly the best country in the sport but has never won the cup. This time the Orange had a good start by achieving the top of qualifying group with 100% won record scoring 17 and only conceding two .. showing how ruthlessly they have dealt with it. Led by star players all over the field who are having very good seasons for their clubs like Sneijder, Van der Vaart and Van Bommel in midfield and Robben, Eljero Elia, Dirk Kuyt, and Van Persie, have put them up top. This team consists of deep and talented players, they can compete against anyone in the world as they've been rewarded with a World Cup Group they expect to win. How far they can live up to expectations then?
Coach : Takeshi Okada
Appearances : 3
Best Result : Round of 16, 2002
FIFA Rank : 45th
Key : Shunsuke Nakamura, Yasuhito Endo, Keisuke Honda.
Japan has a great scoring team, just look back at the recent England friendly match. They scored three goals and England scored none. So when Japan can score on the opponent's goal instead of their own, they might have something. But clearly, Japanese loves their football. The fans have plenty of time to watch their team this year, and they've played 10 friendliest matches since January. They have really mixed results, and don't seem to take pressure that good. Well, Japan has never won a match anywhere other than Asia, but this team has ambitions on getting far into the tournament. They have qualified the last 4 world cups and become a dominant power in Asia. However, Japan has never made it out of the first round except their second round run in 2002 (as the host). The Samurai will likely fought Cameroon and the greater power of Denmark for the second spot in the group, not a promising prospect against the superior technique of Holland. They are technically sound as a team that can give anyone trouble, but also a team has trouble finding the opponent's net.
This is really good group but Dutch is undoubtedly the best team in this group. Everyone knows how good and consistent this team has been, a king without crown. They have great individual players who also play beautifully together, so they should get over all their rivals without many problems.
The rest are the three heavy weights from its continent and probably can be the favored teams as well. However, Denmark and Cameroon come in with a lot of support and a strong physical team but Japan has not done well in the warm-up. So the hardest thing to say about this group is who will prevail between Denmark and Cameroon? With Cameroon versus Holland in the last game has meant that the group could already be decided by this point. It will advance on goal difference at least, Japan would take one point from Denmark or Cameroon so they can leave the party with something. But I'm not very confident about this, I'm not a betting man.
MY ORACLE :
Netherlands (7), Cameroon (4), Denmark (4), Japan (1).