Keisuke Honda’s first half goal was all Japan needed, and although a post rattling blast from Stephane Mbia gave the Blue Samurai a moment of pause, Japan held on for their first World Cup win on foreign soil, defeating Cameroon 1-0 on Monday.
It was an evenly played match throughout, if completely different pre- and post-goal. Before Honda’s goal, the teams split possession while showing too much caution to create scoring opportunities.
In the 38th minute, the match changed with a Daisuke Matsui cross for Keisuke Honda overplayed by the Cameroon back line, allowing the ball to float to the attacker’s feet at the far post. The CSKA Moscow star quickly settled and finished for the match’s only goal.
Though the chances where shared in the second half, Cameroon dominated play as Japan became increasingly defense-minded as the time round up. Japan was able to create opportunities against the run of play for Honda and substitute Shinji Okazaki, while Cameroon continuously cause gasps with crosses toward an ever-crowded penalty area.
Japan was ultimately able to hold-on for three points in and an upset win, with most expected the Cameroonians to prevail on African soil. Now, Japan is even on points at the top of Group E with the Netherlands ahead of a match with the Dutch.
Cameroon will face Denmark in their next match.