Pre-game: Netherlands vs. Japan

The Netherlands and Japan will each try and start the tournament 2-0 in their Group E match in Durban on Saturday (CBC,, 7 a.m. ET).

Day 9, Match 1 

Netherlands vs. Japan, Group E

Date and Location

June 19, Moses Mabhida Stadium, Durban   

Broadcast details

Live on CBC and (7 a.m. ET). Consult CBC’s full broadcast schedule.

Rogers Pre-game Show

Watch the Rogers Pre-game show 30 minutes before kickoff as our panel of soccer experts provide up-to-the-minute news from South Africa on this match.

What's at stake 

The Netherlands was far from convincing in its 2-0 win over Denmark, while Japan laboured to a 1-0 win over Cameroon in its opening match.

Nevertheless, the Dutch and Japanese sit atop Group E with three points apiece, which means the winner of this game could clinch a spot in the second round, provided the Cameroon-Denmark match later in the day ends in a stalemate.

A draw wouldn’t be the worst result in the world for the Group E co-leaders, as they would remain tied for first place and both would both control their destiny heading into the final round of group-stage games.

Suspension watch 

Midfielder Nigel de Jong and winger Robin van Persie both earned yellow cards in the Netherlands previous match. If either one receives another against Japan, he will be suspended for his country’s final game of the group stage. 

Midfielder Yuki Abe is in a similar predicament for Japan.

Player to watch for Netherlands 

Dirk Kuyt —Dubbed "Mr. Everything" because he can play in a variety of positions, Kuyt was in the right place at the right time when he scored his team’s second goal against the Danes, picking up a rebound and scoring on an easy tap in. Japan better be leery.

Player to watch for Japan

Keisuke Honda —The Japanese winger is a dangerous speedster who makes things happen in the final third and possesses a deadly finish in front of the goal, as Cameroon discovered to its peril. The Dutch better not give him space and should do everything in their power to shut him down

Key matchup 

Nigel de Jong vs. Shunsuke Nakamura — De Jong was a defensive bulwark for the Dutch in their opener, snuffing out the Danes as they pressed forward in attack. Nakamura is the chief midfield organizer for Japan. Everything goes through him, so he’ll have to find a way to get past de Jong. 

The Dutch perspective 

"I have said 100,000 times that sometimes we are arrogant and sometimes that might backfire on us, and I have told my players from day one and we must not fall into that trap."  — Coach Bert van Marwijk

The Japanese perspective 

"It won't be an easy match. I think our patience will be tested for a certain length of time." — Midfielder Yasuhito Endo

World Cup head-to-head 

The Netherlands and Japan have never met at the World Cup.

All time head-to-head     

  • Games played: 1
  • Netherlands: 1 wins, 0 losses, 0 draws
  • Japan: 0 wins, 1 losses, 0 draws
  • Goals: Netherlands 3, Japan 0
  • Last match: The Netherlands defeated Japan 3-0 in an international friendly in 2009.