Netherlands 2-0 Denmark
Interesting game. The Dutch coasted through most of it without too much trouble. Still, for a team that wants to be considered a favourite to win the competition, the Dutch look very mediocre. Neither they nor the Danes were very effective in the final third and the Dutch got a gift with their first goal.
The Danes had their periods of dominance but never really threatened a goal. Not promising for them.
Japan 1-0 Cameroon
Awful game. Wayward passing and shooting throughout. Japan deserved the win on the basis of their excellent goal and their better team ethic. Cameroon were all over the place and most of their team seemed to be playing for themselves rather than the nation. They improved briefly before the end, but only enough to worry the Japanese a little. Ghana and South Africa remain the only African teams to have barely impressed.
This group is finely balanced. The Dutch should get through easily enough and Japan are in the driving seat to take the second spot.
Italy 1-1 Paraguay
Italy will be a little shocked with the way it went but they should be commended for battling back. The Paraguay goal was a stunning blow, very much against the run of play. But Italy stuck to the game plan and dominated most of the play, especially in the first 20 minutes of the second half. And, like Champions should, they kept pressing for a winner right to the end.
Paraguay showed that they can be a deadly threat but they were badly caught out for the equalizer, especially their keeper. Hard to rate them as a team and predict how they’ll get on until I see tomorrows other Group E game.
Also, I completely forgot that this World Cup is being played in Winter. Bucketing rain down in the Italian/Paraguay game tonight. Not what I was expecting.