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World Cup: Denmark Eliminates Cameroon, Wins 2-1

Denmark's Nicklas Bendtner, left, heads a ball as Cameroon's Geremi looks on during the World Cup group E soccer match between Cameroon and Denmark at the Loftus Versfeld Stadium in Pretoria, South Africa, Saturday, June 19, 2010. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)
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Updated at 4:49 p.m. ET

Dennis Rommedahl scored one goal and set up another Saturday to lead Denmark to a 2-1 win over Cameroon, eliminating the African team from the World Cup and sending the Netherlands to the round of 16.

Rommedahl ran down the right flank and spun around substitute Jean Makoun before hitting a well-aimed shot past Hamidou Souleymanou in the 61st minute.

Rommedahl assisted on Nicklas Bendtner's equalizer in the 33rd after Samuel Eto'o had put Cameroon ahead in the 10th following a mix-up in the Danish defense.

The result means the Netherlands is through to the second round with six points after beating Japan 1-0 earlier Saturday. Denmark and Japan have three points each. Their last Group E match will decide who joins the Netherlands into the knockout stage.

Eto'o scored in the 10th minute after a meltdown in the Danish defense.

Christian Poulsen rolled the ball toward fullback Simon Kjaer but the pass was way too soft and intercepted by Achille Webo, who found Eto'o unmarked in front of goal. Cameroon's top striker easily beat Denmark goalkeeper Thomas Sorensen with a powerful low shot.

The Danes replied just after the half-hour mark, when Kjaer sent a long diagonal pass from deep inside the Danish half down the right flank to Rommedahl. The 31-year-old winger let the ball bounce off his chest, looked up to find Bendtner rushing toward the goal, and struck a low cross that the Denmark striker poked in with his right foot.

Both teams had a flurry of chances before the break, with Eto'o hitting the post and Achille Emana zigzagging past three defenders but shooting straight at Sorensen.

Cameroon pressed desperately for an equalizer after Rommedahl put the Danes ahead, but Alex Song and Webo shot over the bar at Loftus Versfeld.

Sorensen salvaged the Danish win when he stopped Achille Emana's right-foot shot with a one-hand save in the 77th.

Lineups:

Cameroon: Souleymanou Hamidou; Stephane Mbia, Nicolas Nkoulou, Sebastien Bassong (Mohamadou Idrissou, 73rd), Benoit Assou-Ekotto, Geremi; Alexandre Song, Eyong Enoh (Jean II Makoun, 46th); Achille Emana, Pierre Webo (Vincent Aboubakar, 79th), Samuel Eto'o.

Denmark: Thomas Sorensen; Lars Jacobsen, Simon Kjaer, Daniel Agger, Simon Poulsen; Christian Poulsen, Martin Jorgensen (Daniel Jensen, 46th); Dennis Rommedahl, Jon Dahl Tomasson (Jakob Poulsen, 86th), Jesper Gronkjaer (Thomas Kahlenberg, 67th), Nicklas Bendtner.

Netherlands Beats Japan 1-0

Wesley Sneijder scored the only goal Saturday to help the Netherlands beat Japan 1-0 for its second straight World Cup win.

Sneijder's 53rd-minute strike finally broke down Japan's stubborn resistance, which had stifled Dutch creativity for much of the match. Robin van Persie laid the ball back and Sneijder sent a powerful right-foot shot that Japan goalkeeper Eiji Kawashima could only deflect into his net.

"We pressed in the second half and got a goal," Sneijder said. "This is the kind of game we maybe could have got two or three goals, but we won it and that's great."

It was the Inter Milan playmaker's 15th goal in 63 internationals.

"Our players did everything they could, but we could not beat the Netherlands," Japan coach Takeshi Okada said. "We feel sorry for the fans."

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The Netherlands, however, again failed to live up to its billing as one of the most fluent attacking teams of the tournament. The team struggled to a 2-0 victory over Denmark in its first Group E match, while Japan had a 1-0 victory over Cameroon.

"Why do we focus on good football instead of winning?" Netherlands coach Bert van Marwijk said. "Let me assure you that we really, really want to win and if we can do that in style then great. But you have to be able to win ugly games."

Before Sneijder's goal, Van Persie missed chances for the Dutch in front of 62,010 fans at Moses Mabhida Stadium.

Japan responded to the goal by pushing forward and Yoshito Okubo had two shots in quick succession, the first saved by Netherlands goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg and the second went over the bar.

Substitute Ibrahim Afellay came close to doubling the Dutch lead in the 84th and again in the 88th when he bore down on the Japan goal, but he was foiled both times by good saves from Kawashima diving at his feet.

Japan nearly made the Netherlands pay for those misses when substitute Shinji Okazaki latched onto a deep cross at the far post and shot just over the bar.

"It shows you there are no easy games. Look at France and Germany," Van Marwijk said, referring to the World Cup losses for the European powerhouses.

The Netherlands reached the World Cup final in 1974 and 1978, but lost both times. Japan's best finish was reaching the round of 16 when it co-hosted the tournament with South Korea in 2002.

The win set a record of 10 straight victories for the Netherlands in World Cup qualifiers and final tournament matches, including eight before the two in South Africa.

It also extended the Dutch record of never losing to an Asian team. It has now won eight matches and drawn one against Asian opponents.

The win put the Netherlands in first place in Group E with six points. Cameroon and Denmark are also in the group.

Van Marwijk said he was expecting an aggressive Japan team and that's what he found as Okada played a four-man defense and a mobile five-man midfield that never gave the Dutch time to settle on the ball.

The Netherlands dominated possession early with Rafael van der Vaart, Dirk Kuyt and Van Persie all switching positions across the midfield to confuse Japan's defense.

"We're controlling games and not giving the ball away and making sure we score a goal," Kuyt said. "Then we can try and lock up the games late on."

Kuyt had the most spectacular Dutch effort before the break, with an overhead kick in the 10th minute after a cross from Giovanni van Bronckhorst, but defender Yuji Nakazawa headed the effort clear.

A minute earlier, Sneijder had also came close with a free kick that flashed over the bar.

But after soaking up the pressure, Japan came back into the game and created its own scoring chances.

Keisuke Honda headed over in the 33rd after a free kick from Yasuhito Endo, and Marcus Tulio Tanaka did the same five minutes later when he climbed above Kuyt but could not direct his header down.

As Japan continued to push forward, Stekelenburg easily saved Daisuke Matsui's volley and Honda sent a long-range free kick harmlessly over the bar.

But after the break, Japan struggled to regain its momentum, allowing the Netherlands to again dominate possession and finally find a way to the goal.

"We fought like lions today and in the end you know the goal will come," Van der Vaart said. "If we keep going like this, we can progress a long way."

Lineups:

Netherlands: Maarten Stekelenburg, Gregory Van der Wiel, John Heitinga, Joris Mathijsen, Giovanni Van Bronckhorst, Mark Van Bommel, Nigel De Jong, Wesley Sneijder (Ibrahim Afellay, 83), Rafael Van der Vaart (Eljero Elia, 72), Dirk Kuyt, Robin Van Persie (Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, 88).

Japan: Eiji Kawashima, Yuto Nagatomo, Yuji Nakazawa, Marcus Tanaka, Yuichi Komano, Makoto Hasebe (Shinji Okazaki, 77), Daisuke Matsui (Shunsuke Nakamura, 64), Yuki Abe, Yasuhito Endo, Keisuke Honda; Yoshito Okubo (Keiji Tamada, 77).

Australia in 1-1 Draw With Ghana

Ten-man Australia held on for a 1-1 draw with Ghana on Saturday at the World Cup.

Australia, which lost Harry Kewell to a straight red card in the 24th minute, took the lead in the 11th. Forward Brett Holman slotted in a rebound after Ghana goalkeeper Richard Kingson had saved a free kick from Mark Bresciano.

Kewell, who led Australia's attack, was sent off for blocking a shot from Ghana defender Jonathan Mensah on the line with his upper arm.

"It's devastating for me," Kewell said. "There was no intent. The referee has killed my World Cup."

Kewell said he watched the rest of the match in the dressing room with a security guard.

Ghana forward Asamoah Gyan converted the ensuing penalty in the 25th for his second goal - and second penalty - of the tournament.

Ghana nearly went ahead two minutes later when Prince Tagoe's close-range shot went just wide. Then, just before halftime, midfielder Kevin-Prince Boateng made a run down the right and sent his shot toward the far post, but goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer tipped it behind for a corner.

Ghana, which now leads a tight Group D with four points, continually broke through Australia's defense and threatened to score, but couldn't finish.

Australia had started brightly as the players looked to rebound from a 4-0 loss to Germany. Coach Pim Verbeek was heavily criticized for fielding a defensive lineup in that match and failing to field a recognized striker.

Australia is last in the group with one point, but Verbeek still thinks there's a chance to advance after Wednesday's match against Serbia. Kewell will be suspended but Tim Cahill will be back from the ban he received for a red card in the opening game.

"We're still in the race," he said. "The boys were fighting for everything, and with everything they had. I can only be proud of the players."

Verbeek said he thought the players "reacted well to the loss against Germany."

The coach also said it shouldn't have been a sending off for Kewell, calling it a hard shot he couldn't move his arm away from.

"I think it was definitely not a red card," he said. "What can you do with your arm? You can't cut it off."

Kewell's red card against Ghana dulled Australia's dominance in the opening stages and unleashed wave after wave of attack by Ghana.

The Australians had looked the stronger team from the opening whistle until the red card. A penalty claim in the second minute involving Kewell was waved away by the referee.

But Ghana resumed the pressure in the second half.

Kwadwo Asamoah ran down the right in the 47th and sent a shot wide from inside the area. A shot from just outside the area by Gyan was spilled by Schwarzer three minutes later, but the 'keeper cleared it for a throw.

Gyan threatened again in the 60th, but his curling shot from the edge of the box went straight to Schwarzer.

In the 66th, Australia nearly scored when a cross was headed just over by substitute Scott Chipperfield. But seconds later, another Ghana attack almost resulted in a goal when a cross from the right was just missed by a sliding Gyan in front of goal.

Australia didn't give up and had two chances to score in the 72nd. Luke Wilkshire was put through on goal and shot straight at Kingson, and Joshua Kennedy then volleyed straight into the ground and into the 'keeper's arms.

Ghana, which faces Germany in its last group match Wednesday, pounded Australia's goal in the closing minutes. A header by Mensah went just wide in the 90th and Quincy Owusu-Abeyie's long-range shot was tipped over in injury time by Schwarzer.

Ghana captain John Mensah and fellow defender Isaac Vorsah were left out because of injuries, and coach Milovan Rajevac said that was a factor in the opening goal.

"Instead of two defenders, we had to use two young players," Rajevac said. "We got off to a bad start, conceding a goal. After that, we started to fight.

"We shouldn't have given that goal away. It's very difficult to attack a team with a good defense."

Rajevac believes that a draw against Germany would be enough to advance to the next round.

But Australia captain Lucas Neill says his team can progress if Germany plays as well against Ghana as it did against Australia.

"We've seen enough to believe that Germany, if they played like they did against us, can give Ghana a real touch up," Neill said. "We still believe, and we're going to keep fighting to the end."

Lineups:

Ghana: Richard Kingson; Hans Sarpei, Lee Addy, Jonathan Mensah, John Pantsil, Kevin-Prince Boateng (Matthew Amoah, 87), Anthony Annan, Andre Ayew, Kwadwo Asamoah (Sulley Muntari, 77), Prince Tagoe (Quincy Owusu-Abeyie, 56), Asamoah Gyan.

Australia: Mark Schwarzer; David Carney, Craig Moore, Lucas Neill, Luke Wilkshire (Nikita Rukavytsya, 85), Mark Bresciano (Scott Chipperfield, 66), Jason Culina, Carl Valeri, Brett Holman (Joshua Kennedy, 68), Brett Emerton, Harry Kewell.