Group E: Netherlands, Denmark, Cameroon, Japan
Group E at first glance appears to be all about the battle for second place. The Netherlands are easily the team to beat and will be favored to stroll through the group. Bert Van Marwijk’s team enjoyed an easy qualifying campaign and have been in imperious form in the friendlies leading up to South Africa.
The Netherlands will open up against Denmark, the Danes being no pushover when it comes to World Cup play. In fact, in three previous Cup appearances, Morten Olsen’s side have never failed to advance to the Round of 16.
Cameroon still holds the record for best ever finish by an African team at the World Cup and the Indomitable Lions will hope to repeat or better their quarterfinal appearance from the 1990 World Cup.
Japan meanwhile are in their fourth consecutive finals and will be hoping to advance to the knockout stage for only the second time, the first being in 2002 when they co-hosted the tournament with South Korea.
What Should Happen
Not considered to achieve direct qualification in Europe’s Group 1 against quality sides such as Portugal and Sweden, Denmark once again defied the odds and did just that, finishing first in an extremely difficult section. Morten Olsen’s side now head to South Africa full of confidence and nothing less than a place in the Round of 16 will do for this team. In Group F alongside the Netherlands, Cameroon, and Japan, the Danes won’t have it easy, however they are a team whose reliance on teamwork and unity should serve them well in their fourth World Cup appearance.
TALE OF THE TAPE
FIFA Ranking: 35th
World Cup Appearances: 3 (1986, 1998, 2002)
World Cup Record (W-D-L): 7-2-4
Best World Cup Finish: Quarterfinals, 1998
Road To South Africa: Qualified as 1st in Europe’s Group 1
Lots of football being played at this time of year as we are in the midst of the “business end” of the season. Everything is a little condensed this year as it is a World Cup year, so it really means that the matches are coming at us left and right. Not that we mind here at One Game, One World.
In today’s Morning Kick-Off we take a trip around the globe to see some of the more interesting happenings in world football. First, a little video though from Denmark, specifically Aalborg’s 1-1 draw with SønderjyskE . Spare a thought for Aalborg goalkeeper Karim Zaza who tried to dribble past the opposition forward only to get stripped and give up the most embarassing of goals. Luckily for him, Aalborg found an equalizer late on to rescue a point.
Ouch! Though in Zaza’s defense, perhaps the pass he received was not exactly the best and it put him into some trouble. Anyway, on to he Kick-Off! Continue reading