World Cup Odds and Betting Picks: Japan Vs. Cameroon Preview and Predictions
by Robert Ferringo - 6/12/2010
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Japan will be trying for its first ever World Cup road victory when it opens tournament play this June. Unfortunately for them, they aren’t just playing on the road but they are playing against a team that will have the extra motivation of playing on familiar soil.
Cameroon, one of the top African teams in the World Cup, will be “hosting” Japan at 10 a.m. EST on Monday, June 14 at Free State Stadium in Bloemfontein in the first game for either team. Cameroon is presently No. 19 in the world while Japan is situated at No. 45.
In a group that includes Netherlands and Denmark this initial game is critical for two teams that have a realistic shot of advancing out of the group stage.
This Cameroon group was spotty in qualifying and disappointed at the Africa Cup of Nations in January. The Indomitable Lions are one of the most accomplished teams on the continent. They have tallied points in 11 of their 17 career World Cup games and they have the furthest advancement (the 1990 quarterfinals) of any African Nation.
Besides the home field advantage, Cameroon has another significant edge over the Samurai Blue: Samuel Eto’o. The Cameroon striker is one of the best players in the world and should be a force in this tournament. With 91 caps and 42 career goals the 28-year-old captain of this squad may be playing his prime football.
Simply put, Cameroon will advance as far as its extraordinary Eto’o can take his team. However, Eto’o was close to quitting recently after a highly publicized squabble with his coach, Roger Milla. Milla criticized the star by saying that Eto’o “hasn’t brought anything to our national team”. Will this recent feud light a fire under one of the top talents on the globe or it could be the type of distraction that could undermine this team’s efforts and shred the fragile balance in the locker room?
Japan is clearly hoping for the latter.
Technically, few teams are as sound as the Japanese squad. They control the ball, work the short passing game and are dangerous on set pieces. They will test the patience of their African counterparts.
But the Japanese don’t have anyone even close in talent to Eto’o. And their lack of a go-to player is one of their key weaknesses. Only a handful of the Japanese play for top-level soccer clubs and on the whole there just isn’t any star power. They rely on the sum total being greater than the parts, but without a difference maker I don’t know if they can overcome the team playing closer to home.
Japan has not been sharp and is not in good form at all heading into South Africa. They were ranked in the Top 20 in the world heading to Germany for the 2006 World Cup but fell flat on their faces and haven’t cracked the Top 30 since. They have been blown out by South Korea (twice) and Serbia in the last four months and were recently booed at home.
However, Japan did hold a 1-0 halftime lead over England in a recent friendly before two own goals did them in.
Both teams play the same formation – a flat 4-4-2 – so there shouldn’t be any surprises. With three players earning more than 79 caps and five players tallying 45 or more, Japan has more midfield depth. But their team’s chances will depend solely on how their center backs hold up against the Cameroon attack.
Japan vs. Cameroon World Cup Odds:
Cameroon is a slender favorite in this contest. With the spread they are laying 0.5 goals at +110 while Japan is +0.5 at -140. Betting with the Draw, Cameroon is just +105 while Japan is coming in at +250 and the Draw stable at +225.
Japan vs. Cameroon Picks and Predictions:
Japan Will Win If: They contain Eto’o and find someone to step up and provide some finishing punch. Japan will move the ball and control the tempo. But what will they do with it? Japan has never won a World Cup game off its own soil. And it’s tough to know just how good they are from one Cup to the next because of the soft qualifying they find themselves in. They didn’t play well this past quarter but they should benefit from a fresh start once the Cup begins. If they play with discipline they could manage a Draw, which is one of the most likely scenarios from this game.
Cameroon Will Win If: They find Eto’o. He is the quality of player that Japan cannot handle. And if he is getting touches in the offensive third he’ll be able to generate something for his squad. The Indomitable Lions are the most accomplished African organization and they should benefit from playing on their home soil. As long as there are no breakdowns and that the Lions don’t get too aggressive with their tackling (leading to cards, etc.) then I think that they could find the one goal that will be the difference in this contest.
Robert Ferringo will be releasing rated selections on the 2010 World Cup this summer. Robert is a long-time soccer aficionado and one of the most exciting handicappers in the industry, and he guarantees a profit through the entirety of the tournament. Sign up today and get on board the Victory Train!
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