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Japan vs. Cameroon: Japan tames the Indomitable Lions, 1-0

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Michael Sohn/AP

(Read caption) SCRAMBLE: Cameroonian players scrambled to score at the tail end of Monday's Japan vs. Camerooon match, which they lost, 1-0.

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So much for this being Africa’s World Cup.

Five of the continent’s six teams have played so far and only one, Ghana, can feel confident about reaching the second round.

Cameroon should be one of Africa’s strongest teams but they were embarrassingly poor tonight against a Japanese side that didn’t look much better.

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The standard of many of the early games has not been great, but for 45 minutes this Group E encounter between Japan and Cameroon threatened to plumb new depths.

It was enlivened, briefly, by Keisuke Honda’s 42nd minute goal but even that owed much to the Cameroonian defense’s inability to deal with a simple cross.

Cameroon improved in the second half, although it would have been hard for them to have been any worse.

They looked menacing whenever Benoit Assou-Ekotto charged forward from left-back, but it happened too rarely and his end product was too haphazard.

Star striker Samuel Eto’o scurried and hurried to little effect. And, as so often in Cameroon’s big matches, he was a pale shadow of the player whose performances for Inter Milan and Barcelona have been so impressive in recent years.

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