Thursday, 24 June 2010

Group E - final games

Japan 3 - 1 Denmark
Honda 17 Tomasson 81
Endo 30
Okazaki 87

Holland 2 - 1 Cameroon
van Persie 36 Eto'o 65
Huntelaar 83

This one was a tale of two free kicks, both for Japan. Honda took the first, from about 40 yards out. The commentator was quite surprised to see him lining up a shot, and wondered whether he might be disguising his intent to play a pass. No, he was advertising his intent to score without anyone getting anywhere near it, including Sorensen in goal. He duly did so, the double bluff taking keeper and commentator equally by surprise.

Which was something neither of them liked, so when Japan got another free kick just outside the box, in fairly much the position you'd put the ball for a free kick if you had a choice, you can be sure they were both keeping a careful eye on Honda. Leaving Endo the less observed of the two players over the ball. Two nil, carefully plotted and faultlessly executed by a very impressive Japanese team.

The half time panel felt it was all Sorensen's fault, he should have put the wall in a different place, moved to the opposite corner himself, and so on. I can't help noticing how everyone knows this after the ball's in the back of the net, but it's quite rare to have it pointed out before. Although Harry Redknapp did point out that you normally put the tallest defender on the end of the wall, which even I know, and it's fairly poor defending if you forget to apply footballing principles even I know.

He's sharp as a tack, that Harry. Asked by Gary Lineker if he was considering splashing out on a Honda in the summer, he said he might be swapping one for his Bentley.

Denmark came out after the break and tried, but realistically it was game over. Tomasson put away the rebound from his own penalty miss (which is why it doesn't say pen next to him on the heading), but Japan just went down the other end and scored again. A draw would have been enough for them anyway, but they chose to go out and win it even though they didn't have to, just because they could. Which other World Cup nation are they reminding me of? Actually, no-one else at all.

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