Group E started with Netherlands taking on Denmark.
(to be updated after the second game)
Netherlands 2-0 (0-0) Denmark
Goals: 1-0 Simon Poulsen (46', own Goal), 2-0 Dirk Kuyt (85').
The Netherlands made a successful start into the 2010 FIFA World Cup with a 2-0 victory against Denmark at the Soccer City Stadium in Johannesburg. But it initially wasn't as easy as the final result might say.
The Danish made a defensive start against the Dutch who took control of the game. But chances were few and far with the Dutch often combining well up to the 16 metres mark, but thereafter the Danish stopped their movements goalwards. And the Danish actually had the better chances in the first session, but it remained goalless up to the break.
The Netherlands took the lead just after the break in the 46th minute when a Robin van Persie cross from the left was headed by Simon Poulsen onto the back of Daniel Agger and suddenly the ball was in the Danish goal. The match opened up a little, but the Danish didn't really threaten the Dutch goal after the break. It was rather the Oranjes who were closer to their second goal. A Wesley Sneijder shot landed on the crossbar in the 82nd minute. Only three minutes later Eljero Elia should have scored the second goal after he beat the Danish keeper Thomas Soerensen, but his shot hit the post, still Dirk Kuyt was there to score of the rebound to ensure the win for the Elftal.
Japan 1-0 (1-0) Cameroon
Goals: 1-0 Keisuke Honda (39').
Japan overcame Cameroon 1-0 in a weak game at the Free State Stadium in Bloemfontein.
Japan vs Cameroon was a tough affair to watch. Both sides came into the tournament on not so good friendly performances and both the coaches made some changes hoping to strengthening their respective teams. But it somewhat didn't make any difference as both teams lacked pace and imagination in their game with loads of midfield action and tons of miss passes.
Cameroon looked as if they didn't know what they were doing, while Japan did what was possible for them which wasn't much either. But Japan took the lead in the 39th minute when midfielder-turned-striker Keisuke Honda was suddenly free inside the box left free by the Cameroon defence after a cross from the right and the man who plays for CSKA Moscow scored the opening goal of the match. Japan went into the break with a one goal lead.
One hoped for a better game in the second session, but it remained as bad. Cameroon had a good chance in the 48th minute when Samuel Eto'o took on three Japanese defenders on the right, gets the pass into the middle but Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting's shot goes wide. But thereafter it again was mainly midfield action with Cameroon having more of the action with Japan happy to defend their 1-0 lead. Cameroon's best chance came in the 85th minute when Stephane Mbia's shot hit the goalpost with no chance to the Japanese keeper Kawashima. In the end Japan scored their first ever opening World Cup win.