Keisuke Honda’s goal in the 39th minute was all Japan needed to beat Cameroon in early morning World Cup action.
After six unsuccessful efforts (0-5-1), Japan finally got a win on foreign soil which puts them on top of Group E with the Netherlands after they beat Denmark 2-0.
Daisuke Matsui’s long curl from the right eluded two Cameroon defenders which gave Honda an easy tap-in and Japan a 1-0 lead heading into the second half.
After being invisible for most of the game, Cameroon’s offence woke up in the latter part of the second half.
Stephane M’Bia hit the post with a shot while a Pierre Webo deflection was stopped by Eiji Kawashima in injury time.
Overall, the Indomitable Lions did not display the speed and talent many believed they were capable of, including Samuel Eto’o.
Besides a run that saw him make his way through three defenders, Eto’o was a non-factor in this game.
Coach Paul Le Guen elected to play Eto’o as the right striker instead of his natural centre position which may have affected the 29-year-old.
The Japanese defence smothered the Lions strikers and gave them little room to be creative and make things happen offensively.
Coincidentally, Cameroon struggled and will look to rebound on Saturday against Denmark while Japan takes on the Dutch.