Honda drives Japan to victory

  • Last Updated: June 14 2010, 22:31 BST

Keisuke Honda's close-range strike near the end of the first half was enough to give Japan a 1-0 win over a disappointing Cameroon in their Group E opener.

  • Honda fires home the only goal of the game from close range.
  • Honda celebrates with the Japanese bench after opening the scoring. 
  • Japan celebrate their victory... 
  • ...but it's disappointment for Cameroon. 

In a game of few clear chances, Cameroon's defence failed to deal with Daisuke Matsui's cross, allowing Honda to control the ball at the back post before clipping the ball past Hamidou Souleymanou.

Stephane Mbia went closest to salvaging a point for Cameroon when his fierce drive cannoned back off the crossbar.

But although the Africans threw everything at Japan in the closing minutes they could not find a way through, sparking huge celebrations from the Japanese squad.

Cameroon coach Paul Le Guen could not hide his disappointment after the game.

He said: "Of course I am upset that we have lost the game but our attitude was wrong.

"We were tense and nervous, especially in the first half. We did not show what we are capable of. We were not at our level and kept losing possession."

Le Guen was particularly disappointed with the defending leading up to the only goal of the game.

Le Guen said: "My players were wrongly positioned."

It was little wonder Honda enjoyed the moment as he celebrated his 24th birthday on Sunday.

Honda's star is rising as he sealed a move to Russia at the turn of the year after playing for modest Dutch side VVV Venlo and he helped CSKA reach the quarter-finals of the Champions League.

He said: "I had to stay calm when the ball came to me as we have missed chances in recent games.

"It is not just about me, however, we defended well. Our team has not had good results but we got it right when it mattered."