Prediction Cameroon vs Netherlands Preview Word Cup 2010 ; There won't be anything but pride to play for when the Netherlands take on Cameroon in the final match of the two sides' Group fixtures, which will be held on Thursday, June 24 at Cape Town. The Dutch are already through to the Round of 16, and would probably secure top spot in Group E even if they lose this match. As for Cameroon, defeat at the hand of Denmark made them the first side to be knocked out of the FIFA World Cup, and the Indomitable Lions will be desperate to go out with a roar rather than a whimper.
The two sides have never met in competitive football, with the only two previous head-to-heads being friendlies in 1998 (a nil-nil draw) and in 2006 (a 1-0 Netherlands win). The omens don't look so good for Cameroon as Netherlands have never lost to an African opponent at the World Cup finals.
Cameroon only have African pride to play for, having been knocked out of the World Cup following their 2-1 defeat at the hands of Denmark. The tournament was supposed to be the ‘Time for Africa', but with only one win to show for, there's been a lot of heartache for the African fans.
Nevertheless, Cameroon do have something to celebrate in this tie: it will be their 20th match at the World Cup finals, which makes them the first African side to reach the milestone. Elimination would have dampened their spirits, but having impressed against Denmark, the ‘Indomitable Lions' would be determined to garner as much respect as they can before they pack their bags.
The key to their marked improvement in the previous match was the inclusion of several senior players, such as Achille Emana and Geremi, and also Arsenal's Alexandre Song, while shifting Samuel Eto'o to a central role added greater fluidity to their performance. This squad definitely has it in them to open up any defence, but besides Eto'o no one showed any signs of a natural finisher, which proved costly against Denmark. The midfield broke down the play well, but the defence was easily caught out due to some naïve defending.
With Cameroon's loss to Denmark securing their passage to the Round of 16, coach Bert Van Marwijk would probably look to rest much of his starting line-up to prevent any injuries or suspensions. It also gives the Dutch a chance to give some much-needed game time to their second rung, which includes the likes of Klaas-Jan Huntelaar and the impressive Eljero Elia, to find their form just before the knockout stage kicks off.
The Netherlands have not impressed in their first two matches, failing to find the rhythm that saw them pulverise their Qualifying group in a ruthless manner. However their defence, which was until now their weak-point, seems to have shored up. Mark van Bommel and Nigel de Jong has impressed in the centre of the park, allowing Wesley Sneijder to play freely.
Robin van Persie would almost definitely sit out the fixture, while it seems doubtful that Arjen Robben would be risked by forcing him into a comeback in a meaningless tie. The Bayern Munich winger should come on as a substitute, though, if van Marwijk feels a bit of game time would do him good. Gregory Van Der Wiel and De Jong may also sit out having collected a yellow card apiece in the previous matches.
May 29, Slovakia 1-1 Cameroon
Jun 2, Portugal 3-1 Cameroon
Jun 5, Serbia 4-3 Cameroon
Jun 14, Japan 1-0 Cameroon (Read Match Report)
Jun 19, Cameroon 1-2 Denmark (Read Match Report)
May 26, Netherlands 2-1 Mexico
Jun 2, Netherlands 4-1 Ghana
Jun 5, Netherlands 6-1 Hungary
Jun 14, Netherlands 2-0 Denmark (Read Match Report)
Jun 19, Netherlands 1-0 Japan (Read Match Report)
The Inter Milan striker shone in his team's defeat to Denmark, scoring the opening goal after having returned to a more central role. His intelligent movement and ball-playing also brought his teammates into the game. Coach Paul Le Gluen may rue having put him on the right side against Japan, a match in which Eto'o was nearly invisible.
The young winger brought the tie against Denmark (in the first round of Group matches) to life with his speed, and it was his effort that struck the post before Dirk Kuyt tapped in the rebound to seal the win. He struggled against the Japanese, but would fancy his chances against a Cameroon defence that Dennis Rommedahl showed was susceptible to pacy wingers.
Cameroon (4-4-2): Hamidou; Bassong, N'Kolou, Assou-Ekotto, M'Bia; Alex Song, Enoh, Geremi, Emana; Webo, Eto'o
Paul Le Gluen would almost definitely stick with the side that started against Denmark, who controlled the game for long durations. He may, however, instruct Bennoit Assou-Ekotto to play more defensively, after he was found well out of position in the move that led to Denmark's second goal.
Netherlands (4-3-3): Stekelenburg; Boulahrouz, Oojier, Heitinga, Mathijsen; Van Bommel, Van Der Vaart, De Zeeuw; Elia, Affelay, Huntelaar
It's difficult to predict the changes Bert van Marwijk would ring in, but it's safe to presume the front trio would all be rested, and so would the players on a yellow card. The shape wouldn't change, though, with Affelay and Elia fitting in on either side of Huntelaar and Demy De Zeeuw probably taking up Nigel De Jong's duties as a holding midfielder.
The Cameroonians would be up for this match, and would try to replicate their performance against Denmark. However, in Mark Van Bommel and Rafael Van Der Vaart they meet two very experienced players and controlling the game may not be as easy as it was against the Danish side. It's difficult to say just how interested the Dutch players would be. It's safe to say they won't be jumping into too many tackles, but despite the complete replacement of their offensive line, the pace that they have with the presence of Elia and Affelay may be too hot for Cameroon to handle.
Predicted Scoreline: Cameroon 1-2 Netherlands