Denmark bounced back from their Netherlands defeat with a narrow 2-1 victory over Cameroon which eliminates the African nation from the tournament but keep’s alive the Dane’s chances of progressing from the group stages.
Both teams approached the game knowing a win was the only option and Paul Le Guen’s Cameroon lead the chase for the three points when lackluster defending from Denmark gifted Cameroon the opening goal in the 9th minute. Christian Poulsen played a slack pass on the edge of his own box which was intercepted by Pierre Webo who found Samuel Eto’o unmarked in the Danish box before the Cameroon captain fired his powerful shot into the bottom-corner past the helpless Sorenson.
Buoyed by their opener Cameroon went in search for a second and were centimetres away from adding to Denmark’s misery when the lively Achille Emana saw his long range glide narrowly wide of the target in the 13th minute.
Denmark held strong after relentless pressure from Cameroon and Morten Olsen’s men began to develop a foot-hold in the match and found the breakthrough in the 33rd minute when a simplistic yet brilliant move carved through the Cameroon defence. Simon Kjaer played a superb ball from his own half to the unmarked Dennis Rommedahl on the wing which the Dane controlled on his chest before delivering a low cross into the danger area which Nicklas Bendtner latched on to and converted the equaliser for the Dane’s.
In the 41st minute a lapse of concentration from Alex Song gifted Denmark possession to Nicklas Bendtner who played Dennis Rommedahl through on goal and as the angle was against Rommedahl he pulled a pass back for the oncoming Jon Dahl Tomasson who’s goal-bound effort was blocked by the Cameroon defence.
Moments later the Denmark defence switched off and Samuel Eto’o found himself through on goal and steered his shot past Sorenson but the post denied Cameroon a half-time lead.
Cameroon returned for the second-half where they left off and could have reclaimed the lead two minutes after the restart when a corner was whipped in and met by the head of Stephane Mbia who rose highest but saw his thumping header brilliantly tipped over the crossbar by Thomas Sorenson.
Early pressure from Cameroon continued as Benoit Assou-Ekottu saw a penalty appeal waved away after Daniel Jensen’s perfectly timed tackle after Geremi had fizzed a dangerous cross into the Denmark box.
Both teams struggled to create chances until Dennis Rommedahl put Denmark 2-1 up on the hour mark. Nicklas Bendtner turned provider as he treaded a ball through to Rommedahl down the right-hand side and the speedy Dane beat second-half substitute Jean Makoun before curling a superb effort past Cameroonian goalkeeper Hamidou into the bottom corner to give Denmark the lead with half an hour to play.
Cameroon threatened to no avail with long range efforts and on 71 minutes Denmark captain Jon Dahl Tomasson had a chance to double Denmark’s advantage after Christian Poulsen played a delightful chip over the Cameroon defence to Dennis Rommedahl who teed up Tomasson but the veteran forward saw his effort parried away to safety by Souleymanou Hamidou.
Denmark were given warning signs by Cameroon and in the 78th minute Achilles Emana was put through on goal only to be met by an in-form Thomas Sorenson who got a firm wrist to Emana’s goal-bound effort.
Second-half substitute Mohammadou Idrissou headed over the bar for Cameroon late on and was to be Cameroon’s last attack as they became the first African nation to be eliminated from the World Cup.
The ever-improving Simon Kjaer picked up his second yellow card in as many matches late on and will miss the crucial clash with Japan on the 24th as a result. Despite collecting the three points and some strong individual performances from the defence Denmark manager Morten Olsen will know he has to improve his defence as a unit if Denmark are to progress.