photo by ISIphotos.com
By FRANCO PANIZO
The first upset of this World Cup came on the fourth day of action, and it was at the expense of an African team.
Japan shocked Cameroon, 1-0, in a game that marked the team's first World Cup win away from home soil. The goal came courtesy of Keisuke Honda in the first half, as the midfielder got on the end of a Daisuke Matsui cross before clinically trapping the ball and slotting it to the near post.
Despite winning the possession battle, Cameroon struggled to find an equalizer in the Group E clash. The Indomitable Lions did come close three minutes from time when defender Stephane M'Bia blasted one from distance, only to see the ball smack off the crossbar.
The missed opportunity was a cruel ending for Samuel Eto'o and Cameroon, but it summed up their struggles against Japan's organized defense.
Here are the match highlights, as well as from the rest of Monday's games:
Own goal helps Netherlands defeat Denmark, 2-0
A own goal by Daniel Agger paved the way for the Netherlands to defeat Denmark, 2-0, in the Group E opener.
The Netherlands dominated much of the play, but could not find the back of the net until the 46th minute when Simon Poulsen attempted to head a Robin van Persie cross clear, but instead it bounced off Agger's back and into the Danes' net.
The Dutch would add another five minutes from the final whistle as Dirk Kuyt knocked in a rebound after substitute Eljero Elia had curled a shot into the post.
The win was a fair result for the Netherlands, but the team's defense needs improvement. Constantly throughout the first half, Nicklas Bendtner and Denmark created chances on the counter. Bendtner even missed a golden opportunity to score when his header from close range went wide in the 27th minute.
Here are the match highlights:
De Rossi earns Italy 1-1 draw with Paraguay
Italy began its World Cup title defense with a 1-1 draw against Paraguay, but it needed a botched clearance to do so.
Daniele De Rossi scored off a corner kick in the 63rd minute after Paraguay goalkeeper Justo Villar failed to punch the ball clear.
The goal was the equalizer for Italy, who had uncharacteristically conceded off a set piece in the first half. Paraguay defender Antolin Alcaraz had temporarily given the South Americans the lead, when he rose above Fabio Cannavaro to head the ball home off service from a free kick.
Italy, who were without injured midfielder Andrea Pirlo, also received a bit of bad news at halftime as goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon had to be replaced due to a back injury. No word yet on if Buffon will be able to play against New Zealand on June 20.
Here are the goals:
What do you think of Monday's matches? Surprised Japan defeated Eto'o and Cameroon? Think the Netherlands will go far? How do you see Denmark faring? Will both Italy and Paraguay make it out of Group F?
Share your thoughts below.