Durban, South Africa The Netherlands 1, Japan 0
Wesley Sneijder scored the only goal, and the Netherlands beat Japan, 1-0, on Saturday. The victory, combined with Denmark’s 2-1 win over Cameroon, clinched a spot in the second round for the Dutch.
Sneijder’s 53rd-minute strike finally broke through a Japanese defense that had stifled Dutch creativity in front of 62,010 fans at Moses Mabhida Stadium.
The Netherlands again failed to live up to its billing as one of the most fluid attacking teams of the tournament, though it won nevertheless. The Dutch struggled to a 2-0 victory over Denmark in its first Group E match.
The win set a record of 10 straight victories for the Netherlands in World Cup qualifiers and finals matches — a run that includes eight qualification matches and its two victories in South Africa.
It also extended the Dutch record of never losing to an Asian team. It has now won eight matches and tied one against Asian opponents.
Denmark 2, Cameroon 1
Pretoria, South Africa — Dennis Rommedahl scored one goal and set up another as Denmark beat Cameroon, eliminating the Indomitable Lions from the World Cup.
The Danes’ victory moved Netherlands into the second round, the first team to advance.
“When we finished the game we knew it was a really bad game,” Daniel Agger said. “Especially the first half, we gave too many opportunities away. We didn’t play like a team. We didn’t play like we have to play if we want to progress in this competition. Clearly it wasn’t good enough, but if you can win on days like that, it’s positive.”
Rommedahl charged down the right wing and spun around Jean Makoun before hitting a well-aimed shot past goalkeeper Hamidou Souleymanou in the 61st minute.
Rommedahl had assisted on the equalizer after Samuel Eto’o put Cameroon ahead in the 10th minute following a mix-up in the Danish defense.
Nicklas Bendtner tied it in the 33rd after receiving a feed from Rommedahl following a superb long pass by Simon Kjaer.
Australia 1, Ghana 1
Rustenburg, South Africa — Australia held on for a draw despite Ghana’s man advantage for more than 66 minutes in the World Cup, further tightening Group D.
Australia forward Brett Holman scored in the 11th minute after goalkeeper Richard Kingson bobbled a free kick from Mark Bresciano right into his path. Holman put the rebound past the keeper.
Harry Kewell led the Australian attack against Ghana as one of four changes to the team beaten by Germany. But he was given a red card in the 24th minute after he blocked a shot from Ghana defender Jonathan Mensah at the goal line with his upper arm.
Asamoah Gyan converted the penalty kick in the 25th minute for his second goal of the tournament, both from the penalty spot.
Ghana tops Group D with four points, followed by Serbia and Germany with three each, Australia with one.