What do Goal.com's experts from Cameroon, Denmark, Japan, and the Netherlands say?
So how confident are the Netherlands, Cameroon, Denmark, and Japan about their respective chances of advancing from Group A? Goal.com asked our local experts for each of the nations to give us their own unique take:
Are you happy with the draw. Why or why not?
Tommy Vaneldik - Netherlands: Yes, this could have gone a lot worse for us. My prayers have been heard (no Portugal), so that's good. We recently beat Japan 3-0 in a friendly, know a lot of the Danish because there are a lot Danish players playing in the Eredivisie and Cameroon, however a tough opponent, is not unbeatable. I like this group, especially to be together with the Danish team
Massaer Ndiaye - Cameroon: Aside from the obvious Dutch favourites, this is a pretty fair draw for the Indomitable Lions who are a better team than Denmark and could get a good result against Japan. But Cameroon is getting a much better draw than their Ivorian cousins and are well armed to go through to the round of sixteen. If Cameroon play the way they're capable of, they could top the group without a doubt. Knowing how bad Denmark and Japan have fared against African teams in the past is another reason for satisfaction. But only time will let us know in what physical shape a team with many players who will have played more than 60 games by June will be in and fare against bigger and taller defensive blocks..
Takashi Sugiyama - Japan: We don't have to be too disappointed, because there is a possibility to go to the next round. Of course Netherlands is the strongest team but we have the experience to win against Cameroon. If we can beat Cameroon in the first game there will be a possibility to go to the next stage.
Michael Hansen - Denmark: I am quite happy with the draw. Although Holland are ranked 3 in the world by FIFA and won all their group matches in the qualifying group we have a chance of getting at least a draw. We don’t fear them. We must be able to beat Japan although they are an unknown team to us and against Cameroon, the highest ranking African team, we will also have a chance.
What will the final standing be?
Tommy Vaneldik - Netherlands: We're optimistic, we'll win this group, Second place will be a tough one between Cameroon and Denmark, I think the Africans will become second. Unfortunately for Takashi, Japan won't make it to the second round.
Massaer Ndiaye - Cameroon: If the Netherlands are believed to get the first spot pretty easily, they could be surprised by Cameroon who will go through and get at least the second spot. At the third place, the more natural fit would be Japan before a Danish team who haven't shined at an international level lately. (Netherlands, Cameroon, Japan, Denmark)
Takashi Sugiyama - Japan: The final standings will be Netherlands first, Cameroon second, and Japan will be 3rd place, with Denmark in last.
Michael Hansen - Denmark: The final standing in Group E will be Holland with 7 points, Denmark with 5 points, Cameroon with 4 points and Japan with 0 points. Trust me.
Who is the top player in the group?
Tommy Vaneldik - Netherlands: Top player is Samuel Eto'o, CL-winner with Barcelona last season and a world class goal scorer.
Massaer Ndiaye - Cameroon: The best player in the group is African and it is Samuel Eto'o. Just fifth this year in the Ballon d'Or race, the Indomitable Lion is maybe one of the best players on the planet at the moment and is not showing any signs of slowing down lately. Of course his performances at the World Cup will be direct consequences of his performances at the African Cup of Nations in Angola. And if the Cameroonians play the way they've been performing their last qualifying games, Samuel Eto'o will be a force to be reckoned with this summer.
Takashi Sugiyama - Japan: The top player in the group is surely Eto'o because he's a real striker. Another great player will be Sneijder, who has great speed and good work-rate
Michael Hansen - Denmark: Van Persie is definitely the best player in Group E. An experienced and proven goal scorer for Arsenal one of the top teams in England means that he knows how to score goals at the highest level and he can play well against world class defenders. If Holland go far in the finals he will be highly responsible for that if he stays free of injuries that is.