In what was a hugely entertaining encounter between the bottom two
teams in Group E in Pretoria, Cameroon took the lead in the 10th minute
through captain Samuel Eto'o following a bad defensive error by
Denmark recovered from that setback though, and goals from Nicklas
Bendtner and the dangerous Dennis Rommedahl in either half earned the
Scandinavians a hard-fought victory.
The result means that Denmark joins its next opponent Japan on
three points, while group leaders the Netherlands is now guaranteed a top-two
finish - making it the first team to progress.
For battling Cameroon though, the defeat sees it become the first
side to bid farewell to the World Cup after losing both its opening
Denmark coach Morten Olsen made two changes to the side that lost to the Netherlands, bringing in fit-again captain Jon Dahl Tomasson and Jesper
Bendtner also took his place in the starting line-up for the second
successive game despite struggling with a groin injury that means he can
only train every other day and only having lasted an hour against the
Cameroon coach Paul Le Guen, meanwhile, drafted in Geremi, Achille
Emana and Alexandre Song as the Indomitable Lions sought to end an
eight-game winless streak stretching back to the African Nations Cup.
Denmark, which had lost its previous three games without scoring a
goal, had the first opportunity but Rommedahl fired over after breaking
the offside trap in the sixth minute.
The Ajax winger should have done better with that, and four minutes
later Eto'o showed him how it should be done by putting Cameroon ahead
following a bad defensive error by Christian Poulsen.
Poulsen picked up possession from his goalkeeper Thomas Sorensen on
the edge of the box and then attempted to find Simon Kjaer with a
first-time pass without looking up.
The pass was intercepted by Emana, who quickly picked out the
unmarked Eto'o in the middle and the Inter Milan star took one touch
before drilling a low shot past Sorensen.
That was another bad goal for the Danes to concede following the own
goal by Daniel Agger against the Netherlands, when Simon Poulsen's attempted
headed clearance hit the Liverpool defender before going in.
The Danes were back on level terms just after the half-hour mark at
Loftus Versfeld stadium, though.
Cameroon goalkeeper Souleymanou Hamidou had done well to deny
Tomasson earlier but he could do nothing about the equaliser as his
defence were cut open far too easily.
A superb long ball from inside his own half by Kjaer just cleared
Benoit Assou-Ekotto and fell perfectly for the flying Rommedahl, and his
low ball into the centre was slid home by Bendtner from eight yards.
Both sides had chances to snatch the lead during a hectic spell just
prior to half-time.
For Denmark, Rommedahl could not take advantage of getting clear once
again before, from the same attack, Tomasson saw a goal-bound shot
Then for Cameroon, Eto'o fired against the post following another
defensive mistake, while Emana was denied by Sorensen after bursting
through the two Danish centre-backs.
The all-action encounter continued apace at the start of the second
half when Stephane M'bia and Kjaer both brought fingertip saves out of
their opposing goalkeepers.
Cameroon striker Pierre Webo then blazed a decent opening high into
the stands before also being denied by Sorensen as the African side
looked to be taking control.
However, it was Denmark who got the next goal through the dangerous
Rommedahl in the 61st minute.
Bendtner's pass put Rommedahl away down the right and the 31-year-old
cut inside Jean Makoun before curling a low left-footed shot past
Hamidou. That left Cameroon staring World Cup elimination in the face,
and they almost fell 3-1 behind in the 71st minute, Hamidou coming to
their rescue to superbly keep out Tomasson's effort.
Sorensen then produced an even better save six minutes later, diving
low to his right to parry away Emana's shot.
Cameroon laid siege to Sorensen's goal in the closing stages, butit could find no way through as Denmark held on for the points.