Group E – Holland, Cameroon, Denmark, Japan
Holland look clear favourites in this group and they should qualify with three wins on their way to the quarter finals at least. Cameroon and Denmark will both fancy their chances of grabbing the second place, and Japan will in all probability be pleased to finish anywhere above 4th.
Holland who are currently ranked 4th in the World by FIFA came through what could have been a tricky qualifying group in a canter winning all 8 games and only conceding 2 goals in the process. It is almost impossible to find a scenario in which they don’t qualify and they should win all three games in taking the group.
Cameroon are not the strongest of the African contingent, but have probably got the most favourable draw giving them a great chance of being the continents only second phase team. They have some real quality in Arsenal’s Alexandre Song and Inter Milan’s Samuel Eto’o and the rest of the squad are all based with good European clubs. They start against Japan and if they can get a good result in this game they will have a huge home support roaring them on against Denmark in their second game. It will be close but they should just about scrape the second spot.
Denmark are a very good team and will be no pushovers in this group. They came through a very tough qualifying group, finishing ahead of Portugal who are currently ranked 3 in the world by FIFA and will be quietly confident of getting into the second stages at least. However there are question marks regarding their scoring prowess with Rommedahl & Tomasson both getting older, and Nicklas Bendtner lacking both experience and consistency.
Japan look like the weakest team in the group and although they wont get hammered they will be very lucky to pick up a point in this company and finishing anything other than bottom of the group would probably be viewed as a success.
This should be an entertaining group to watch and the race for second should be close but overall the expected finishing order is:
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