Monday, June 14, 2010

Keisuke Honda Breaks Indomitable Lions' Spirit

Japan finally registered their first World Cup win on foreign soil. This deserved win over Cameroon has to be a massive confidence booster considering that Japan was on a four-match losing streak while preparing for the 2010 World Cup finals.

Keisuke Honda showed why he is destined to assume Hidetoshi Nakata's mantel as the darling of Japanese football. He is a special talent and he showed the world just how hot a property he really is. The control, movement and finish for his goal are evidence of a player at the top of his game.

Japan as a whole, played superbly. The match started at a frantic pace as Cameroon opted to try and overpower a nervous Japanese side. Paul Le Guen plumped for the height and power of Pierre Webo whilst shifting Samuel Eto'o to right wing. That was an gross error of judgement on the Frenchman part as Eto'o's influence grew more and more non-existent as the game wore on. No doubt, Eto'o will start as striker against Denmark in the next game.

Japan's defence which had been shaky in pre-tournament friendlies stood up magnificiently to the Indomitable Lions. Tulio and Nakazawa worked overtime to deflect any kind of Cameroonian attack, especially in the last 15 minutes when Cameroon threw everything they had at the Japanese goal. Kawashima justified his inclusion ahead of Kawaguchi with a brilliant injury time save from Eyong.

Takeshi Okada's job should be safe now after this brilliant performance. Paul Le Guen will have a tougher task at hand to motivate a dispirited Cameroon team shorn of quality players ahead of the must-win match against an equally smarting Denmark.

And so it seems that Hidetoshi Nakata was not completely bonkers when he believed that Japan can win against Cameroon.

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