If you look up "massive under-achievers" in the Football Dictionary, you'll find pages of pictures of men in orange shirts, some looking puzzled, others downcast and others just downright embarrassed.
It's great to watch the Dutch in full flight, unfortunately, they are usually only on for a short time frame. You've really got to catch them. Like in their WC qualifying group where they smashed all-comers. They were the first team to qualify for the Cup because of their total domination of their group. And with the likes of Arjen Robben and Wesley Sneijder, this Group better watch out or they could be similarly pantsed. Or otherwise there might be more pictures to add to that "massive under-achievers" bit. Robben and Sneijder are quite simply superb footballers and it's no coincidence that their teams squared off in the Champions League Final. And then you throw into the mix names such as Van Persie, Kuyt, Huntelaar, De Jong and Van Bommel and it usually equals fun. At the back, they are captained by Van Bronckhorst but will be missing a familiar face in goal; despite still being considered one of the best keepers in the world, Edwin Van Der Sar has retired from international football. I'm going to lay it on the line, they are absolute specials to top this group...better than bank interest as the tight-ass punters say.
JB Says: Ahh Denmark...Won the 92 European championship after not even qualifying (made it in after yugoslavia didn’t attend for political reasons).
Denmarks 4th world cup and each time having progressed from the group stage – highest reaching the quarter finals in 98.
Qualified this world cup by ousting Sweden and touching up Portugal.
Coach played in WC for Denmark in 86 and coach of Denmark in 02
They tend to play a 4-3-3 due mainly to a lack of star creative players and strikers.
Strength is in first class defensive partnership of Daniel Agger (Liverpool) and Simon Kjaer (Palermo) in the centre of defense. Full backs of Lars Jacobson (Blackburn) and Michael Lumb (Zenit St Petersburg) filling out the back 4 are good but not great. Good depth with central defender Per Krodrup (Fiorentina) on the bench.
Absolute key to the team is Christian Poulsen (Juventus) playing the role of holding midfielder. Will probably be supported in the middle by Daniel Jensen (Werder Bremen) and William Kvist (Copenhagen) with up and coming star of the future Christian Eriksen (Ajax) prob being called on from the bench to provide much needed sparkle in the team.
Upfront you have Nicklas Bendtner (Arsenal) and Jon Dahl Tomasson (Feyenoord), although Tomasson has suffered from a severe lack of goals recently.
Very much favoured to make it through the group ahead of Japan and Cameroon with some saying the have the goods to beat an ageing Italy whom they would likely meet in the rnd of 16.
A team built on defence with little spark or depth upfront. Will handle Japan well but could find that Cameroon has enough to put one past them and unable to do the same to the Africans. Having said that depending on what Dutch team turn up to play (mentally more than actual squad selection), possible to hold them out to a draw or get pantsed by 2-3 goals.
Circa 125-1 to win the overall tournament, more action to see if they make it through the group.
Well, you breath a sigh of relief when you don't draw Tim Cahill in your group...and then you draw the Netherlands! And then you find out your coach is off his trolley, talking up some semi-final action in South Africa! If I was Takeshi Okada, I'd definitely be focusing on just making it out of this group for starters. It's going to be tough for the Blue Samurai, probably a little too tough, though not beyond the realms of possibility. There's no way they'll beat the Netherlands but they are a chance against Denmark and Cameroon. The fact that the 3 teams fighting for 2nd here are from different corners of the globe makes for some intrigue. They'll be hoping for big campaigns from Shunsuke Nakamura in the midfield, Nakazawa in defence and Tamada up front. The guy I'm most looking forward to watching is Keisuke Honda; he made me a fan as he helped CSKA Moscow make it through to the Champions League quarter finals. They're recent form is not good with two home defeats, to Serbia 3-0, and Korea Republic 2-0. Okada is talking totally crazy with his top 4 prediction. I'm tipping they miss out on the knockout stages despite having a kick-ass national anthem...
CAMEROON (FIFA RANKING: 19)
Indomitable: adjective- that cannot be subdued by will, or courage; unconquerable: an indomitable warrior. So the Indomitable Lions is a pretty cool nickname then. Though their idea of an Indomitable Lion;
All I've heard is that they're the most successful African side in World Cups, which isn't much to write home about. But Cameroon do have a lot of quality about them, starting with their captain, Inter's Samuel Eto'o. Other big names include Makoun (Lyon), Alexandre Song (Arsenal) and Tottenham Hotspur defenders Assou-Ekotto and Bassong. They came through in one of the tougher African qualifying groups (Togo, Morocco, Gabon), and the expectations are high for the World Cup. Perhaps too high. I think they'll fight it out with Denmark for 2nd place in the group. As for knocking off the Dutch...I don't think so.
Prediction: Hey Hey Let's Go Kenka Suru, Taisetsu Ma Nono, PROTECT MY BALLS!!! Netherlands to win the Group, but sorry Okada, you're totally crazy with your top 4 prediction. You should be admitted for that. I will take Denmark ahead of Cameroon for 2nd. Boka Gu Warui, So Let's Fighting Love!!!
|Match||Date||Venue||Team 1||Team 2||Kick-off (AEST)|
|44||25 June||Cape Town||Cameroon||Netherlands||04:30|