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The Cup Running Over


June 24, 2010 4:20 PM

Group E in Review: Netherlands Cruises, Japan Surprises

WINNER: NETHERLANDS (9 points)

RUNNER UP: JAPAN (6 points)

TURNING POINT: The goals scored by Japanese striker-winger  Keisuke Honda broke open two games for his country and led to his team's surprising second place finish.

BEST MATCH: Following the trend, the Japan-Denmark game on the last day to see who would finish second became more wide-open than the others as the Danes realized they had to score big to win.

WORST MATCH: Japan-Cameroon. We'll leave it at that.

PLAYER OF THE GROUP: Has to be Mark van Bommel, the Dutch defender. Group E was generally conceded to the Dutch beforehand, but no one foresaw that this unit would concede only once (and then on a penalty), thanks to the resolute back line anchored by van Bommel. If this continues, the Dutch may be a real contender this time.

BIGGEST NO-SHOW: You can't fire the team so we'll fire the coach. Paul Le Guen obviously didn't have his Cameroon team ready to play, making this tournament an absolute graveyard for French coaches.

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