Cameroon vs. Denmark World Cup 2010 Live Blog: Danes Down Cameroon, 2-1
Welcome to the Bleacher Report Live Blog for this significant Group E clash between Cameroon and Denmark!
Both sides lost their opening matches and have failed to tally a single goal between them to this point.
That should change today, since the Danes and the Cameroonians are desperate for a win to restore their hopes of advancing to the round of 16.
With two teams that play drastically different styles, a near even distribution of star power, and the inside track to second place riding in the balance, all signs point to a charged encounter between two evenly matched opponents.
If you're looking for a brief x's and o's analysis of the two sides to get your strategic juices going, see my preview here. Otherwise, sit back; keep that mouse hovering over the refresh button, and don't spill your beer on the keyboard. This one should be a cracker!
Signing off for b/r, this is your friendly neighborhood live blogger, Mycroft Holmes.
POST-MATCH ANALYSIS: Drunken vikings aside, Denmark have a lot to do to prepare for Japan. Both teams have three points, but Japan are even on goal differential, while Olsen's Eleven are still at -1.
They will need to take the game to Japan, as I'm sure the inscrutable East Asian side will be more than comfortable playing with 11 men behind the ball for 90 minutes and advance on goal differential. If their whole team could be on the pitch at once, they'd throw their manager in front of goal and play with 24 men behind the ball.
And I thought Italy was boring.
As for Cameroon, they can only kick themselves for the chances they missed. They looked truly dangerous for 85 minutes against a disciplined defensive side, but they could only score one goal for their efforts.
Paul Le Guen should be dismissed from his post after the tournament. I'm sure many Cameroon supporters would be happy if he never set foot on Cameroonian soil again.
Considering what this team showed today, how did this team lose to Japan?
FULL TIME: 2-1 Denmark. Vive le anti-Football, as Arsene Wenger derisively dubbed it.
One of the two snoozers will advance behind the Netherlands in this group, as Denmark have earned three important points to go level with Japan ahead of their June 24 showdown.
A well-deserved win for the more efficient Danes, but one can't help feeling for Cameroon, who are officially the first team eliminated. This tournament meant so much to so many of their players and fans.
'93: The match that seems to be winding down rather lamely. Cameroon look out of gas. Denmark deserve the win for their efficient display.
'90: 3 minutes of extra time gives Cameroon a chance. Can they steal a second goal?
'89: Cameroon seem over-dependent on Eto'o for their creativity on the attack. Jean Makoun was in possession with loads of space ahead of him, but he just kept looking for Eto'o, who was more-or-less out of play on the right side.
'87: A breakaway saving tackle from Kjaer earns him a yellow card that will keep him out of the Japan match. Cameroon had a dangerous free kick, but made ntohing of it.
'85: The Cameroon big men Idrissou and Aboubakar link up, but the header is high and offside to boot.
The Indomitable Lions may just earn the ignominy of being the first team officially eliminated.
'82: A tame effort from Bendtner ruins a lovely counter-attack, but before he can check to see that his hair is straight Cameroon have charged down the pitch themselves. Eto'o found Emana at the top of the box, but a shot from Idrissou deflected out for a corner.
'80: Idrissou, despite his size, can't get over the ball on another beautiful corner. He was all by himself in the middle and he sent it well high.
'77: And Emana ALMOST came up with the equalizer. A quick give-and-go put him in on goal, but his low shot was parried by Sorensen. One gets the feeling that if that had been Eto'o on the ball, we'd be knotted at two.
The replay shows that Emana might not have looked up once after entering the box.
Cameroon substitution: Tired old Pierre Webo has come off in favor of the youngster, Aboubakar.
'77: Denmark are retreating more and more into their own half. It will a great effort to tie this one.
'75: That's what Emana looks like! A puppy dog. Whenever he gets ahold of the ball the first thing he does is look to lay it at Samuel Eto'o's feet. This isn't fetch! Have a go, for goodness' sake!
'73: I don't much like what the lanky Mohammadou Idrissou brings to the table for Cameroon, but the 10-foot-tall attacker has been brought on for central defender Sebastien Bassong.
Cameroon have switched to a desperation three-attacker formation none-too-soon.
'71: And a WONDERFUL chance for Tomasson, who can't find the back of the net. Hamidou kept his poise and blocked the shot, but Tomasson should have had the insurance goal there. Criminally blown chance.
Both sides are slowing down considerably, but it's Denmark who look comfortable doing it. As I said at halftime, the first goal may end up be the all-important one, whatever the final scoreline.
'70: Never knew "phalanx" meant finger in Greek. There's your etymology lesson for the day!
'68: Denmark look to be falling back into a rigid phalanx, but unlike against the Samurai Blue, the Indomitable Lions are not rolling over. Can they find the equalizer?
'66: Kahlenberg on for Gronkjaer. He started the last match.
'63: Cameroon are creating some dangerous crosses, but Webo can't put the ball on target. This consistent pressure has to concern Morten Olsen and the Danish bench.
'61: Dennis Rommedahl breaks the ice in the second half to give Denmark a crucial 2-1 lead. It may have come against the run of play, but nobody could say it wasn't earned.
Rommedahl received the ball well on the wing, caught substitute Jean Makoun flat-footed, and curled a lovely left-footed shot beyond the fingers of the diving Hamidou on the far side.
That's a goal and an assist for Rommedahl, according to my tally.
'59: Meanwhile, Pierre Webo has embarrassed himself with a rugby-like shot attempt. Surprising to think a striker could go relatively anonymously through a match like this, but since Cameroon's goal, Webo has been just that.
'57: Having seen him a bit in La Liga and the Segunda Division, I can't understand why Emana is so trigger shy. He usually loves to shoot first and ask questions later.
His restraint is admirable, but I'd rather see him trying a few more shots from distance.
'56: Simon Kjaer may have taken a decent knock, but all tournament-long he's been looking a little frail for my liking. I know he's been hyped to move to a Big Four EPL side, but does he have the stones and the strength?
'54: I wonder what comes after the "Bronze shoe"? Copper piss pot, maybe?
'51: Emana probably deserved a free kick for his efforts on that play at the top of the box, but it wasn't given. His size and speed are wreaking havoc in the center of the Danish defense.
What can Le Guen have been thinking, leaving him out of the Japan match?
'50: Bendtner was almost free on goal, but his North London rival Bassong saved the day with a professional foul. First yellow card of the match, but not the worst one to take.
Free kick sailed well over the bar. Possible deflection, but a goal kick.
'48: A GREAT CROSS AGAIN from Cameroon. How did Assou-Ekotto fail to put some sort of touch on that. If he had, it would have been 2-1 to Cameroon.
'47: Cameroon already off on the right foot with a cracking header that just sailed over he bar from Marseille midfielder Stephane Mbia off a strong corner from Makoun.
'46: Some half time changes. Jean Makoun is in the lineup for Eyong Enoh, who was rather anonymous in the first period.
Denmark have replaced Jorgensen with Daniel Jensen.
HALFTIME ANALYSIS: One of my favorite mockable media cliches is the "rollercoaster ride," so for this match I'll go with the slightly more geometrical "ping-pong match."
Cameroon's early goal may have come from a terrible error from the Danish defense, but the Lions certainly earned it with their early pressure and strong wing play.
Denmark looked like pretenders going forward until the frenetic final ten minutes that saw the Bendtner goal and the back-and-forth attacking that had both sides looking like vintage Brazil on the counter-attack.
I can't imagine that they can keep up the same pace in the second half, but I wouldn't be surprised to see three or four goals, considering the way both teams are defending.
What's more likely is that the first team that scores, sobered by a halftime talking-to, will try to sit on their lead for most of the rest of the match. Who can get the all-important go-ahead goal in this one?
For Cameroon's part, they were ascendant until undisciplined play from Assou-Ekotto and Mbia allowed Denmark to get around the edges.
For Denmark, they need to stop playing out of the back and keep pressing the suspect Cameroon full backs.
'45+1: And we're at halftime. Excuse me while I check my blood pressure.
'44: Another bad giveaway. Denmark were almost punished just into first half stoppage time. Both coaches will want to talk to their defenders in the locker room.
'42: How is it not 2-2 right now?!?
Denmark stole an errant pass that looked to have them set up for a repeat of the Eto'o goal, but a last chance block from Song saved the day.
On the very next possession Cameroon had numbers forward on a stunning counter-attack that looked like a sure goal, but Eto'o struck the post.
Good Lord, I need some Rolaids at the break.
'41: The Cameroon full backs are really begging to be taken to the cleaners here.
'40: Alex Song is a beast. He's really been huge in the middle for Cameroon.
'37: Denmark have picked their spots and shown how dangerous they can be on the counter, but the sheer number of opportunities created by Cameroon has been astounding. If they'd been more efficient, the scoreline could be 3-1 now. Can they keep up this pace for 90 minutes, though?
'34: A textbook goal from Denmark and we're level at 1-1!
Rommedahl, who's been making a fool of Assou-Ekotto down the right wing, finds tons of spaces off of a beautiful long pass. A laser of a cross beat the keeper and the Cameroon central defense, finding Nicklas Bendtner at the six-yard box, who buried it.
I hope Alexi Lalas likes crow.
'31: This match has really opened up. It's a joy to watch, even if the ups and downs are making me a little queasy. Denmark's defense has been anything but solid, though they only conceded off of a bad turnover.
Cameroon's short-passing is really asking questions of the Danish defensive midfielders and defenders. Emana's missed a few chances to bury a goal of his own.
'29: On the Alex Song omission from the Japan match, a little bird told me that he has been fighting with Eto'o and Le Guen ever since the decision to strip his uncle Rigobert Song of the captain's band at the African Cup of Nations.
A great move into space by Emana, but yet another off-target effort from the Real Betis talisman.
'27: American football-worthy clearance from Sebastien Bassong. If he can't get back on the pitch for Spurs, he could always try his hand at punting in the NFL.
'24: Announcers are ragging on Bendtner...again. I wonder what they'll be saying if "the Red Baron" scores a goal or two?
'23: It's high time a word was invented to define that announcer's no man's land between half-hearted cross and over-ambitious shot. "Shoss"? "Crot"?
'22: Someone needs to remind Assou-Ekotto and Mbia that they're fullbacks. Cameroon look like they're playing with two defenders.
'20: Denmark collapsing the Cameroon defense much better in the last few minutes, but Alex Song is coming up big on crosses.
'17: Good from Denmark, but it was criminal of Rommedahl to miss the open man in the box. He may have taken his roommate's contact lenses this morning. Or do they not share rooms at this level?
'15: Denmark just look dishonest going forward. Bendtner's been anonymous thus far; the team look dreadfully uncomfortable in possession.
They're trying the left wing, but the runs keep ending in the midfield.
'12: Cleaning up a corner kick, Achille Emana almost grazed the post with a low shot. Cameroon is not letting up after their opener.
'10: JUST WHAT THE LIONS NEEDED: Cameroon pressing the Danish defense, who clearly don't like handling the ball, with THREE men, but Kjaer inexplicably tried to play it out wide. Webo picked off the pass and centered to the wide open Eto'o. The all-time leading scorer for Cameroon doesn't miss from there.
1-0 to the Indomitable Lions in the opening ten minutes. Dream of a start for Cameroon.
'9: Poor Cameroon corner kick, but they're gifted their second free kick in less than a minute. A useless shot from Geremi, though.
'7: Great pass and a great run by Rommedahl released the speedy winger on goal. His shot was high, but he caught the suspect Assou-Ekotto sleeping
'6: Weak shot from Eto'o. Surprising. But the first five minutes have shown Cameroon to be the far more driven team. Danish fullbacks look a little self-conscious pushing forward.
'4: How does Sammy do it? He's so strong for his size.
'1: Cameroon start well down the right flank. Assou-Ekotto stumbled looking for the shot, but they'll be looking for more such plays over the rest of the match.
2:30: Speaking of refs, let's have a last minute moment of silence for soon-to-be dismissed Koman Koulibaly. I hope this match will be remembered more for its football than for its officiating.
2:28: Bendtner is magnificently coiffed, as usual. I hope he didn't have to get up too early to get his hair done the way he likes it...
2:25: Alex Song looks like he just woke up. I hope they informed him he was playing before they arrived at the stadium. Eto'o looks bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, though. Cameroon's hopes will be riding on his ability to penetrate the top-notch Danish defense.
2:23: Still rather disapointed to see Souleymanou Hamidou as the Cameroon keeper. What can Le Guen have been thinking, starting him instead of Carlos Kameni?
2:18: McManaman is calling Samuel Eto'o "a little bit temperamental." Understatement of the century?
2:12: Interesting scuttlebutt from the dedicated English speaking press contingent that have traveled with the Cameroon squad is that manager Paul Le Guen has sort of lost control of the team behind the scenes. Perhaps not the same public disarray as Raymond Domenech's France squad. With reports of clashes of will between captain Eto'o and some of the team's prominent role-players, from Alex Song to Achille Emana, the Lions certainly don't seem to have the solidarity and discipline of the Danes. On top of their game, they're a lot more fun to watch, though!
2:02: Cameroon should be in their more natural 4-3-1-2 diamond formation with Achille Emana the central attacking midfielder behind Webo and Eto'o, Alex Song in the central defensive midfield role, and Eyong and Geremi on the left and right sides, respectively.
Look for Cameroon to stretch the field more than in the first match, with Tottenham full back Benoit Assou-Ekotto looking to overlap around Enong on the left wing and Geremi working the right channel as he has done since before the dawn of time.
2:00: Denmark are deploying two strikers in Tomasson and Bendtner, though Tomasson may play in a more supporting role. Can Denmark look as poised in taking the match to Cameroon as they did sitting back against the Netherlands?
1:53: Less than forty minutes till kick-off now.
Heading into the match, I'll be looking to see who takes the early advantage in possession. This should be a desperate contest, but an early goal may go a long way toward setting the tone for the match.
Both sides still have a lot to play for. A win would leave either side tied with Japan for 2nd place with 3 points. Denmark need to win by two to match Japan's goal differential, and Cameroon want to win big since their next match will be against group favorites the Netherlands, who are currently sitting on 6 points.
1:45: Cameroon's lineup changes suggest not only a more attack-minded approach, but the thorough reexamining of their opening match strategy.
Ineffective young striker Eric Choupo-Moting has been replaced by attacking midfielder Achille Emana, who will prove crucial to the Indomitable Lions' plans. Arsenal holding midfielder Alex Song, a surprise omission from the Japan lineup, will start in place of Jean Makoun. Veteran winger Geremi Njitap (known to most as Geremi), will be starting in the place of youngster Joel Matip, who looked so green on Monday that I wouldn't have been surprised to see him blowing chunks a la Donovan McNabb.
Both team fielded very young rosters in the first match. The lineup changes not only suggest their retooled strategies, but their renewed faith in veteran experience.
1:38: Partisans and World Cup junkies alike will take note of the lineup changes for both sides.
For Denmark: Young Enevoldsen, largely anonymous on the right wing in the first match, will be replaced by Greenland-born journeyman winger, Jesper Gronkjaer.
Thomas Kahlenberg will be replaced by veteran striker Jon Dahl Tomasson.
These moves suggest that Denmark will be looking to attack.
1:32 p.m.: Lineups have been released:
1:21 p.m. EST: For those of you watching at home, the match will be on ABC today, thanks to College World Series coverage on ESPN (Go Horned Frogs!) and...drag racing on ESPN2.
Good thing we've got our priorities straight.
Kick-off is at 2:30 p.m. EST, but coverage should start at 2 p.m.
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