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Cameroon Disappointed by Opening Loss at World Cup

Japan's Keisuke Honda, top left, scores the opening goal against Cameroon goalkeeper Souleymanou Hamidou, right, and Cameroon's Stephane Mbia, third from left, during the World Cup group E soccer match between Japan and Cameroon at Free State Stadium in B

Cameroon is disappointed by its opening-round loss to Japan at the World Cup in South Africa.

Japan looked to be an ideal opening opponent for Cameroon as the Japanese side was coming off four straight exhibition losses and had never won a World Cup game outside its borders.

But a first half goal by Keisuke Honda was all Japan needed to put Cameroon at the bottom of Group E along with Denmark, which lost to the Netherlands 2-0.

Former coach Jules Nyongha says Cameroon tried to get back into the game in the second half, but their approach was not the right one.

Nyongha says Cameroon should have tried to attack the Japanese defense. But instead, he says they were not aggressive enough. They were too gentle with the Japanese. And unfortunately, they did not come up with a goal. Nyongha says he hopes the Indomitable Lions learn that lesson for their next match against Denmark.

Former national-side player Nuidjol Angebeaud says Cameroon was playing the same way it did at the African Nations Cup where they were beaten by Egypt in the quarter-finals. He says players were playing as if they thought they were better than their competition, while technically and tactically they were out of the game. If they think they can advance at the World Cup playing like that, Angebeaud says, they have lost the game before it has even started.

Local club official Herve Nkom says Cameroon's defense did not appear to know what it was doing during Japan's goal. He is sad, but feels that if the coaching improves, Cameroon still has a chance to advance. Nkom says the Indomitable Lions clearly felt they were better than Japan, but they must remember that none of the teams that make the World Cup are small.

Cameroon plays Denmark Saturday in Pretoria and completes group play June 24 against the Netherlands in Cape Town.