Danes send Cameroon out

Denmark, inspired by Dennis Rommedahl, came from behind to win 2-1 in an enthralling Group E contest in Pretoria.

Denmark's Nicklas Bendtner, left, scores the equaliser against Cameroon.
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One of the themes of this tournament has been the vocal "home" support for each of the six African nations. The continent is getting behind every one of its charges for the first World Cup on its soil. However, the hopes of "Team Africa" are getting slimmer by the day. With South Africa all but mathematically out of it in Group A and Nigeria needing a huge turnaround to escape Group B, Cameroon became the first side to be eliminated last night.

Denmark, inspired by Dennis Rommedahl, came from behind to win 2-1 in an enthralling Group E contest in Pretoria. Paul Le Guen's side took the lead when Christian Poulsen's blind pass was intercepted by Achille Emana, who quickly picked out the unmarked Samuel Eto'o in the middle. The Inter Milan striker took one touch before drilling a low shot past Thomas Sorensen, the Danish goalkeeper. Cameroon were indebted to goalkeeper Souleymanou Hamidou for keeping them ahead in the 20th minute when he was quickly out to dive at the feet of Jon Dahl Tomasson, the Denmark captain.

But Hamidou could do nothing about the goal that brought Denmark level. In the 33rd minute, Simon Kjaer played a superb diagonal pass to Rommedahl on the right wing. The pacey wideman controlled the bouncing ball on his chest and with his next touch laid it across the Cameroon box for Nicklas Bendtner, the Arsenal striker, to slide the ball home. The game became an end-to-end affair just before half-time, with both teams knowing that a draw would leave them with slim hopes of qualifying for the last 16.

For Denmark, Rommedahl could not take advantage of getting clear once again before, from the same attack, Tomasson saw a goalbound shot blocked. Eto'o fired against the post for Cameroon following unselfish play by Emana, who himself was then denied by Sorensen after bursting through the two Danish centre-backs. A 60-second spell around the hour mark then summed up the topsy-turvy nature of the match.

At one end Pierre Webo turned his defender before scuffing his shot at Sorensen with the whole goal to aim at. Denmark went straight down the pitch and the ball broke to Rommedahl on the right, who cut inside Jean Makoun and unleashed a curling left-foot shot into the bottom corner. Ten minutes later and the game should have been safe. Rommedahl broke the offside trap and laid the ball back to Tomasson who saw his shot blocked by the impressive Hamidou. Emana's shot from the right was saved by Sorensen towards the end as Cameroon poured forward in a vain attempt to equalise. Denmark face Japan on Thursday, with the winner guaranteed to join Holland in the last 16.

* Compiled by Thomas Woods, with agencies

Man of the match Dennis Rommedahl (Denmark)

Group D
Country M W D L GF GA Pts
Holland 2 2 0 0 3 0 6
Denmark 2 1 0 1 2 3 3
Japan 2 1 0 1 1 1 3
Cameroon 2 0 0 2 1 3 0