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The Cup Running Over


June 18, 2010 1:00 PM

Preview of Saturday Games: Netherlands-Japan, Ghana-Australia, Cameroon-Denmark

Some intriguing games in a Cup where upsets are beginning to rule the day.

NETHERLANDS-JAPAN

On paper, a mismatch. Japan doesn't have a tight enough defense to contain the Dutch, who struggled in their first game against Denmark but still managed a fairly comfortable 2-0 win. Japan can struggle to score too -- except on free kicks -- but the Dutch are good at not conceding those too. We'll likely have some goals but tactically, there have been and will be better games in South Africa.

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Robin Van Persie will be looking to kick his World Cup into gear for Holland.



GHANA-AUSTRALIA

Australia is far better than it looked against Germany but it still has the problem that it can't score and must virtually post shutouts to win games. And without Tim Cahill (red carded last game and on a suspension) and Mark Bresciano (apparently benched), the attack is even more feeble. Ghana isn't an offensive powerhouse so the Aussies have a chance. But Ghana has been one of the revelations of the tournament as it has shrugged off the loss of superstar Michael Essien and put together yet another young team that seems capable of going farther than many thought. A low-scoring tense affair, with an edge to Ghana.

DENMARK-CAMEROON

Before the Cup started, this looked like the battle for second. But then Cameroon put in a lousy performance against the Japanese. On paper, the Danes are better and if they can contain Samuel Eto'o as well as the Japanese did, they should be able to post a narrow victory. The Indomitable Lions from west Africa have so far looked anything but.

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