World Cup post-game: Denmark 2, Cameroon 1
Cameroon was eliminated from the FIFA World Cup after Dennis Rommedahl guided Denmark to a 2-1 win over the Indomitable Lions on Saturday in Pretoria, South Africa.
The main storyline
Africa is reeling, the continent's dreams torn and frayed to pieces.
Touted as one of Africa's best hopes at the World Cup before a ball was even kicked, Cameroon became the first nation to be officially eliminated from the tournament following their heartbreaking loss to the Danes.
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This one hurts. The Indomitable Lions are beloved by fans all across Africa and in Samuel Eto'o, they have one of the most lethal strikers in the game.
Eto'o is an icon of African soccer and one of the continent's most popular stars, but even he couldn't rescue his country against the Danes. Limited to only a small handful of chances, his influence was negligible.
With Cameroon out and hosts South Africa on the brink of elimination, the continent's hopes now rest on the shoulders of Ghana, the Ivory Coast and Algeria.
The winning goal
Cameroon coughed up possession in the 61st minute and the Danes broke out on the counter-attack, with Rommedahl sidestepping Jean Makoun inside the box. Free and clear and with nothing but open space in front him, the Danish winger curled a gorgeous shot by goalkeeper Hamidou Souleymanou that nestled inside the far corner
Turning point of the game
Denmark looked out of it after Eto'o pounced on a horrible defensive error by Christian Poulsen and scored for Cameroon in the 10th minute. But Nicklas Bendtner replied 21 minutes later, and the Danes were reborn.
What this result means
The Netherlands leads Group E with six points, ahead of Japan and Denmark (three points apiece) and Cameroon (zero points). With Saturday's result, the Dutch became the first team to qualify for the round of 16.
Japan and Denmark square off in the final round of group-stage games, with the winner advancing to the second round. If that games ends in a draw, the Japanese would advance by virtue of having a better goal difference ratio (0 vs. minus-1).
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Man of the match
Rommedahl set up the tying goal and scored the winner, and burned the Cameroonian defence several times with his speed.
Goal of the match
Denmark's goal in 33rd minute was the result of some exquisite build-up play. Defender Simon Kjaer sprayed a long, inch-perfect pass from his half of the field to Rommedahl, who sped down the right flank before delivering a low cross into the middle of the box for Bendtner to poke home.
Save of the match
In the 78th minute, Cameroon's Achille Emana rushed into the box and fired a driving shot aimed the far corner. Goalkeeper Thomas Sorensen looked to be beaten but he managed to get down low and palm the ball away to preserve Denmark's lead.
The Cameroonian perspective
"I will not resign." — coach Paul Le Guen
The Danish perspective
"It was a tough game until the last minute. We had a terrible start. But we created a lot of chances in the second half, when it became a more open game." — Dennis Rommedahl
Denmark takes on Japan in Rustenburg on June 24 (CBC, CBCSports.ca, 2 p.m. ET), while Cameroon meets the Netherlands on the same day in Cape Town (CBC, CBCSports.ca, 2 p.m. ET).