World Cup: Group E Matchday Commentary

World Cup: Group E Matchday Commentary

World Cup 2010

World Cup: Group E Matchday Commentary

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Netherlandslogo Cameroonlogo Denmarklogo Japanlogo

By AVI CREDITOR

The Netherlands is through and Cameroon is eliminated, but much is still up for grabs in Group E.

Denmark and Japan square off in a winner-advances-loser-goes-home matchup at Royal Bafokeng Stadium in Rustenberg, South Africa (2:30 p.m., ESPN/ESPN3.com).

The Samurai Blue can still advance with a tie, as both teams are on three points, and Japan holds the goal-differential advantage by one.

The Dutch already have their place among the final 16, and they can win the group even with a loss to Cameroon in their game at Green Point Stadium in Cape Town (2:30 p.m., ESPN2/ESPN3.com). Unless Japan makes up a three-goal deficit in a win or Denmark makes up four, the Netherlands will win the group regardless of its result against a Cameroon team that's been relegated to playing for pride.

I'll be providing live commentary on Group E action, with a focus on the crucial Denmark-Japan match. As always, please feel free to follow along and share any thoughts and opinions in the comments section below. Enjoy the games (commentary after the jump).

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POSTGAME – That's all for me for now. Keep coming on back to SBI (and Fox Soccer) for more of your World Cup and United States men's national team coverage. Thanks for following along!

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POSTGAME – Fitting. A Honda car commercial comes on the local broadcast. Well played.

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POSTGAME – Group E finishes with the Netherlands on top, Japan in second, Denmark in third and Cameroon in fourth.

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POSTGAME – Japan was the better team from start to finish. Two gorgeous free kicks undid Denmark, which never was able to get it together in the final third. Keisuke Honda was fantastic, and Japan will be a tough out in the knockout stage.

The 2002 co-hosts are alive. The 2006 finalists are ousted. Quite the tournament we have on our hands.

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90th Minute – It's all over! Japan has advanced out of the knockout stage for the first time on foreign soil. Japan 3, Denmark 1.

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90th Minute – The final seconds of four minutes of stoppage time are ticking away. A disappointing finish for Denmark, which had a ton of promise coming off a strong qualifying campaign.

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90th Minute – The Netherlands has finished off Cameroon. The Indomitable Lions are in need of a new nickname. 2-1 Dutch. Netherlands-Slovakia, Japan-Paraguay in the Round of 16.

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90th Minute – Agger with a shot in the box that hits off the back of a Japan defender. Agger begging for the PK. That's weaksauce dude. You already got one gift.

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90th Minute – Endo off for Junichi Inamoto as Japan uses all its subs.

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89th Minute – Another sub for Japan, as Okubo comes off for Yasuyuki Konno. Great work from Okubo tonight.

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88th Minute – That was all set up by Honda, who used some gorgeous footwork to gain space, draw out Sorensen and set up Okazaki for the sitter. What a showing by Honda, what a showing by Japan, another European team is out.

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87th MinuteGOAL JAPAN!!! OKAZAKI WITH THE BONSAI DROP! 3-1 JAPAN!

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86th Minute – Credit Japan's centerbacks for their hard work. Nakazawa and Tanaka have held their own and defended crosses into the box with ease despite a size disadvantage.

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85th Minute – Sloppy unforced error by Denmark in its own territory and Japan will welcome the chance to take more time off the clock.

Okubo able to get free in the area. He turns well, but his shot is saved by Sorensen.

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83rd Minute – The Dutch grab the lead against Cameroon through a Klaas-Jan Huntelaar goal in the 83rd minute. 2-1 Netherlands, who look to finish group play with three victories. Arjen Robben came on in the 73rd minute for his first action of the tournament.

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82nd Minute – An awful PK, but Tomasson follows it up well. He becomes Denmark's all-time leading scorer in the process. Japan 2, Denmark 1. Denmark still needs a victory though, a tie does not help.

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81st MinuteGOAL DENMARK!! Kawashima saves the PK, but the rebound is put home by Tomasson and Denmark has a bit of a pulse.

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81st Minute – Tomasson to take it…

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80th Minute – PENALTY!! Hisibe barely pushes Agger in the area, and the Liverpool defender milks it for the penalty. This could make things a little more interesting.

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79th Minute – Larsen hits the crossbar!! What a shot from distance.

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79th Minute – Okazaki has brought some high energy off the bench for Japan, as he draws a foul in his own side of the field to earn possession.

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78th Minute – Okubo finds Okazaki in the area, and his flick on goal is saved by Sorensen. Great chance for Japan to put this one away.

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77th Minute – Questionable calls from referee Jerome Damon going against the Danes. That's two phantom foul calls in the box with Denmark on the attack.

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75th Minute – Larsen lofts a header on frame, but it's no problem for Kawashima. Nothing too troubling for the keeper tonight, as Denmark has lacked quality in the final third.

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74th Minute – Daisuke Matsui comes off for Shinji Okazaki for Japan's first sub.

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73rd Minute – Nagatomo curls around to the center of the pitch before shooting from 18 yards out. Easy save for Sorensen.

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72nd Minute – Japan with some rare second-half possession before Denmark takes over. The Japanese haven't wilted under massive amounts of pressure and a lack of possession.

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70th Minute – Tomasson whiffs on a chance from in close! His terrible night gets worse. Denmark needs three goals, and that was a golden chance for No. 1.

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68th Minute – Eriksen with a lovely volley on goal from distance but the ball is lifted a bit too high.

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66th Minute – Sorensen with a rather easy save on an Okubo shot from 20 yards.

Samuel Eto'o has scored on a PK to bring Cameroon level with the Dutch. Still nothing to worry about for the Oranje. First place still very much theirs.

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65th Minute – Bendtner whistled for trying to gain position in the box on a throw-in. Touch foul. He didn't do much.

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63rd Minute – Christian Eriksen on for Kahlenberg as Denmark is out of subs. Quite the fire the youngster is thrown into.

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61st Minute – Japan content to bunker down with the two-goal lead. Not surprising, especially considering how effective its counterattack can be.

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60th Minute – Not quite. Agger's free kick is right at Kawashima.

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60th Minute – Bendtner dives and earns the free kick. With the karma gods look the other way?

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59th Minute – Jakob Poulsen with a laser of a shot from distance, but easily parried by Kawashima.

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58th Minute – Denmark has just three in the back now while pushing numbers forward. Watch for the Japan counterattack.

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57th Minute – Sloppy work by Denmark in its own territory, and Honda almost makes the Danes pay. He's just offside, but that could've been the death blow.

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56th Minute – Endo's free kick from the right is cleared.

Soren Larsen coming on for Per Kroldrup. Offense for defense there. Had to be done.

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55th Minute – Honda draws a foul on Agger deep in Denmark territory.

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55th Minute – Nice counter by Japan, but Nagatomo's shot from distance is high. Can't sleep on the Japanese for a second.

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54th Minute – Denmark is taking it to Japan now. The Danes have got to use their height edge to their advantage, especially in the penalty area.

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52nd Minute – Tomasson just misses from in close! Bendtner's flick sent Tomasson in on goal, but Kawashima saves the day by throwing his body in front of the striker. Also credit Hisibe for recovering and affecting the shot.

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51st Minute – Rommedahl with a cross that drops at Kahlenberg's left foot by the far post, but he can't react quickly enough. Denmark needed that.

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50th Minute – Awful from Bendtner. Right into the wall, no elevation.

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49th Minute – Here's a chance for Denmark. 20-yard free kick from the left.

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48th Minute – WHOA. Endo's long free kick almost catches Sorensen off his line, and the keeper has the ball hit off his hands and off the post. WOW that would've been quite the dagger.

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48th Minute – Christian Poulsen picks up a yellow for another hard challenge on Honda. He's got to watch those elbows, or he'll be catching the rest of this one from the locker room.

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47th Minute – Denmark corner is headed away by Honda, who is fouled by Christian Poulsen on the play.

No subs for either team at halftime.

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46th Minute – Japan with the early threat, but the cross goes through the box and out.

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46th Minute – Second half is underway. Denmark needs a minor miracle. Two goals won't do the trick. It's win or bust.

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HALFTIME – What's wild is that the Dutch, Brazil and Spain could all be on the same side of the bracket when the knockout stage begins. If Spain finishes second in its group it will draw Brazil in the Round of 16 instead of the World Cup final. That is a treacherous road.

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HALFTIME – As the United States has shown, teams down 2-0 at half aren't completely dead, and we've seen some wacky things happen in the second halves of these final group games, so don't count Denmark out just yet. Bendtner and Rommedahl, a nation turns its lonely eyes to you.

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HALFTIME – From the Who Would've Thought Department: Italy and France are done. South Korea, Slovakia and potentially Japan are still alive. The United States won its group over England. New Zealand didn't lose a match. South American teams are STILL unbeaten. Has this been a remarkable World Cup, or what?

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HALFTIME – Japan 2, Denmark 0; Netherlands 1, Cameroon 0. The Dutch are in position for a dream Round-of-16 match against Slovakia, while Japan looks destined for a meeting with Paraguay.

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45th Minute – Offside for Japan after some beautiful, technically sound passing. That's the end of the first half, and the Samurai Blue are looking good.

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45th Minute – Time winding down in the first half. Netherlands looking good to win the group, Japan looking great to advance as well.

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44th Minute – Save Sorensen! He gets a hand on Komano's shot after a beautiful run by the right back. Corner for Japan.

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43rd Minute – Save Kawashima! Christian Poulsen has the long shot off a designed free kick, but it's right at the Japanese keeper.

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42nd Minute – Dangerous possession for Japan, but Okubo's sidewinding kick misfires. The work rate for all of Japan's attacking players in the Denmark zone has been impressive.

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41st Minute – Right. Denmark clears the trouble.

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41st Minute – ANOTHER free kick upcoming for Japan. Same spot as the first one. No way Honda does it again, right?

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40th Minute – More Denmark possession is followed by an awful cross by Simon Poulsen. Danes have lacked the final touch today.

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38th Minute – Robin Van Persie has put the Dutch ahead of Cameroon, 1-0. Stranglehold on the top of the group for Holland.

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37th Minute – Denmark needs halftime to come sooner rather than later to regroup. Honda's strike clearly threw off their early domination, and Endo's looks like a knockout punch.

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36th Minute – Somewhere, Alexi Lalas is smiling. "SET PIECES!!"

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34th Minute – Jakob Poulsen replaces Martin Jorgensen. That's three Poulsens on the pitch for Denmark.

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33rd Minute – Two very long attempts on goal by Denmark are blocked before they hit the 18. Desperation is a stinky cologne.

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32nd Minute – Anyone who has a problem with Jabulani can seek the Japanese for advice. Two beautifully taken free kicks that were delivered with precision have Japan on the knockout-stage doorstep.

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31st Minute – With everyone's eyes on Honda, Endo wrapped a beautiful free kick (25 yards) around the wall with his right foot. A DREAM first half for Japan, and Denmark is on its heels.

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30th MinuteGOAL JAPAN!!! ENDO STEPS UP AND BURIES THE FREE KICK! 2-0 JAPAN! WOW

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29th Minute – Okubo taken down in a dangerous area, 20 yards out, straighaway, and Kroldrup picks up the yellow card. More importantly, Honda gets another crack at goal.

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28th Minute – Long Jacobsen free kick goes out harmlessly for a goal kick. Denmark will need to do better than that with its opportunities.

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28th Minute – Great work rate by Okubo trying to keep possession in the Denmark side, but the Danes will take over after a foul.

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27th Minute – Long through ball in for Rommedahl down main street, but Kawashami reads it well.

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25th Minute – If Denmark is patient, the goal chances will be there. Up until Honda's wonderstrike, the Danes were creating rather easily. Will the pressure get them off their game?

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24th Minute – Denmark steals possession and is on the counter.

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22nd Minute – Reaction save by Kawashima! Christian Poulsen's long ball for Tomasson took a wicked bounce and alluded the striker. Keeper expected the deflection and came up big to parry the ball away.

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21st Minute – Denmark corner is cleared, as Japan's confidence is soaring. The Samurai Blue haven't reached the knockout stage on foreign soil. They did in 2002, when they co-hosted the World Cup with South Korea.

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20th Minute – Denmark needs two goals to keep its World Cup alive. Japan is in the driver's seat.

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18th Minute – Perhaps the goal of the tournament by Keisuke Honda, who is shining on the international stage. A 30-yard free kick from a right side angle inside the left netting. No chance for Sorensen there, although his first step was to the wrong side.

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17th Minute GOAL JAPAN!!! HONDA WITH A REMARKABLE FREE KICK!! JAPAN 1, DENMARK 0!

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16th Minute – Netherlands and Cameroon still scoreless. As we currently stand, the Dutch and Japanese are through.

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14th Minute – Tomasson misses just right on a low shot for Denmark! Out of nowhere, end-to-end action.

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14th Minute – Hasebe's shot goes just wide! Signs of life from Japan.

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13th Minute – SAVE SORENSEN! Okubo with a brilliant pass into the area, but Sorensen kick-saves Matusi's deflection

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12th Minute – Yellow card given to Yasuhito Endo for taking entirely too long to take a long free kick.

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11th Minute – Japan has isolated Honda up top. There's not much he's going to be able to do as a one-man counterattack if the Japanese don't secure some possession.

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10th Minute – No foul given as Simon Poulsen is tripped up just outside the area after a solid piece of possession by Denmark. Danes passing and dribbling at will.

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8th Minute – Krodrup latches on to a Denmark corner kick, but his shot is wide left. Denmark applying all the pressure early on. Japan won't be able to withstand this for 90 minutes.

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6th Minute – Arjen Robben not in the starting XI for the Netherlands, by the way. He is available off the bench, and he could see the pitch for the first time this World Cup just to shake off the cobwebs before the knockout stage.

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5th Minute – Long ball for Bendtner is weighted too heavily. Big boost for the Danes that Bendtner is playing. He's been battling a groin injury.

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3rd Minute – Tomasson and Simon Poulsen work a nice 1-2, but Poulsen's final shot is wild. An early score by Denmark would put the pressure squarely on Japan's shoulders.

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2nd Minute – Denmark clears the early trouble.

It's amazing to think that Japan could score one goal and advance to the knockout stage. A 0-0 tie would put the Japanese through, and they tallied only against Cameroon in a 1-0 win.

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2nd Minute – Early free kick chance for Japan in the Denmark end.

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1st Minute – And the final day of Group E is underway.

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PREGAME – Keisuke Honda is the one to watch for Japan. The CSKA Moscow midfielder has made a name for himself so far, and he's the Samurai Blue's most dangerous threat.

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PREGAME – Unfortunately for the Danes, young stud defender Simon Kjaer is out after picking up a yellow card in each of the first two games. Per Kroldrup will be called upon to fill his shoes.

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PREGAME – Finally, a group where the final games don't really have much of an effect on each other. The attention is squarely on Denmark-Japan.

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PREGAME – Here are the starting lineups for the Netherlands-Cameroon match:

NETHERLANDS

————————-Van Persie————————

——Van der Vaart——–Sneijder——-Kuyt———-

————Van Bommel————De Jong————–

–Van Bronckhorst–Mathijsen–Heitinga–Boulahrouz–

————————-Stekelenburg———————-

CAMEROON

—Eto'o——–Choupo-Moting———N'Guemo—

——-Makoun———Song———Geremi——–

–Assou-Ekotto—–Bong—–N'Koulou—–M'Bia–

————————Hamidou———————-

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PREGAME – Here are the starting lineups for the Denmark-Japan match:

DENMARK

————Tomasson————Bendtner————

–Kahlenberg–Jorgensen–C. Poulsen–Rommedahl–

–S. Poulsen——Agger——Kroldrup——Jacobsen–

————————-Sorensen————————-

JAPAN

——–Honda——-Okubo—–Matsui——–

——–Endo———Abe——–Hasebe——-

–Nagatomo–Tanaka–Nakazawa–Komano–

——————–Kawashima——————

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