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Cameroon-Ireland World Cup Match Ends in Draw - 2002-06-01

World Cup football got off to an exciting start in Japan Saturday, as Group E's Cameroon played the Republic of Ireland to a 1-1 draw in the opening match in Niigata. Things picked up after a slow start to the game.

There were no shots on goal in the first 15 minutes as the teams felt each other out. Cameroon's Samuel Eto'o had the first scoring chance in the 18th minute, but Irish keeper Shay Given smothered his attempt.

Eto'o made up for it in the 39th minute, as he dribbled through the Irish defense, before setting up a wide-open Patrick Mboma. Mboma slid the ball past the sprawling Given to give Cameroon the 1-0 halftime lead.

Ireland put on the pressure in the second-half, and it paid off less than six minutes later. Matt Holland blasted a sharp rebound from Kevin Kilbane's shot into the net from 18-meters out to tie the game, and that's the way it ended - a 1-1 draw. Germany plays Saudi Arabia in the late game in Sapporo.