martes, 15 de junio de 2010
World Cup Analysis Day 4: Japan vs. Cameroon
I started watching this match with a Moroccan friend at his house, when before Japan went up in the score, he said "I really think it's unfair that Asia have so many teams on the World Cup", probably asking more for Africa, since he also believed 3.5 places for CONCACAF was just enough. So I put myself into thinking, how 12 years ago, in 1998, and I guess before that (although I have no memory), Asian teams were nothing but making the WORLD part in FIFA World Cup true. However, after a questionable 2002 tournament in the continent, were Korea achieved a 4th place, not without the help of the refeereing, and Japan went to the second round, Asian teams have begun growing. And by this I'm actually referring to Korea and Japan (with the addition of Australia to their confederation). Last tournament they were not far behind from getting to the second round, and Korea proved on Saturday, that this time they are planning to go through.
So, having seeing their rivals play up quite good, against a lousy Greek team, Japan was surely aspiring for nothing less. But the Japanese are smart, they realize that ahead of them there is an African squad, which transpires strength, velocity, and who with a good chance for star striker Samuel Eto, would not be forgiving. So they set their defense tight but not closed behind, and they knew that one good chance would be enough. And so it was, minute 39 and Keisuke Honda put the Japanese one goal ahead. Cameroon would struggle to get back into the game, but it was not enough to remove the Asian team from achieving their first victory in foreign soil on a World Cup.
Man of the Match: Fifa.com users did a good decision by naming Keisuke Honda the best player of the match, since his nerves of steel when shooting were enought to settle the score, plus he created some of the other Japanese attacks, while playing in a position not familiar for him. However, I will like to give this award to Cameroon's captain Samuel Etoo, whom after years in the game, still manages to surprise. Running all over the field, commanding the team, removing defenders from other player and doing a beautiful trick to leave three Japanese players wondering what he had done with the ball.