World Cup 2010: Day 9 - Players To Watch & More

Do or die for the Ockers, and more...
Few would argue that the World Cup has not truly entered full swing now. Each of Friday's three games brought excitement aplenty, albeit in different ways. And those hoping that the weekend will bring rest are set to be sorely disappointed.

For today we begin with the Netherlands versus Japan. The Dutch were not quite the irresistable attacking force some ancitipated in their opener against Denmark, and may now face a tougher test in the form of a Japan side buoyed by a win over Cameroon, who in turn meet the Danes in the evening.

Then in delicately-poised Group D, Ghana have a superb chance to go top as they face Australia. The Green & Gold Army had a terrible time of it against Germany in their first match and must at the absolute least avoid defeat.

Today's Schedule

Netherlands - Japan Saturday, June 19, 2010 - 13:30 local time
  • Preview: Whoever wins this goes top of the group by three clear points
  • The Dutch have a 100% record against Asian sides
  • These two have met once: the Dutch won a friendly 3-0 in Enschede in 2009
Ghana - Australia Saturday, June 19, 2010 - 16:00 local time
  • Preview: Ghana can make it two wins from two
  • Australia desperately need a win to stay in contention
  • These two sides have met six times in friendlies, with four Aussie wins, a loss, and a draw
Cameroon - Denmark Saturday, June 19, 2010 - 20:30 local time
  • Preview: The two losers from the first matchday must make amends
  • Both teams have lost their last three internationals
  • These two sides have met twice in Copenhagen friendlies, with 2-1 wins apiece
Five Players To Watch Today

Keep an eye out for these ones...

Eljero ELIA

It takes some doing to be among the men of the match when playing only around half an hour, but that's exactly what Elia did against Denmark. The Hamburg winger was top dog and, according to's Stefan Coerts in the Netherlands, should absolutely start against Japan.
Keisuke HONDA

For the second match in a row all eyes will be on CSKA Moscow's dynamic attacking midfielder, Keisuke Honda. He was our player to watch prior to Japan's meeting with Cameroon and duly picked up both our editors' and fans' Turkish Airlines Top of the Match award. Same again, Keisuke?

Young gun Kwadwo Asamoah is one of the most youthful of what is already a fresh-faced Ghanaian squad. Having been instrumental in the win over Serbia, he didn't last the full ninety - perhaps due to wishing to save his strength for the next match with Australia.
Christian ERIKSEN

Ajax youngster Eriksen may be just 18 years of age, but he's already on his fourth cap and, of course, set for his second World Cup appearance. The Dane enjoyed mere minutes against the Dutch but may be utilised as an attacking spark this time.
Achille EMANA

The Real Betis hitman will be watching carefully to see if his side regain promotion to the Primera, but for now he has a job to do. Criticised by some for his greed on the ball, it's clear that he'll be a goalscoring threat for the Indomitable Lions.

Did You Know...?

Fun Fact:
Lukas Podolski's penalty miss in Germany-Serbia was the Germans' first failed spot-kick in regular World Cup play since Uli Hoeness failed to score against Poland in 1974.


The percentage of seats occupied in Ellis Park to see the United States' 2-2 draw with Slovenia, meaning just 45,573 out of 62,657 places sold.
9 The number of yellow cards dished out by Alberto Undiano Mallenco in Germany's 1-0 defeat to Serbia, including six in the first half alone and two to Miroslav Klose.

What We Saw Yesterday...

Germany 0-1 Serbia (report)

Who said the White Eagles were down and out? Anyone who did was soon set straight as Serbia gained and retained a one-goal advantage against ten-man Germany to stun the in-form Nationalelf and blow Group D wide open. Germany coach Jogi Loew had said before the match that he expected a tough occasion, and that he most certainly was given by Raddy Antic's men - and, some may say, the referee.

Slovenia 2-2 United States (report)

Talk about a comeback! After going two down in the first half, the United States rocketed back to secure a vital draw that keeps their hopes of qualification for the second stage alive. The central Europeans certainly had the best of it early on, but Bob Bradley's side showed sufficient character to put the ball in the net three times, the third occasion being chalked off.

England 0-0 Algeria (report)

Two matches, two draws, and too many worries for England coach Fabio Capello. Algeria put in a spirited defensive showing in Cape Town to pick up their first point of the tournament and in doing so deny England their first win.

The Three Lions had the best of the attacking chances but profligacy in front of goal, coupled with the bravery of the Fennecs, saw both sides leave without a goal.

After the game England star Wayne Rooney criticised some of the England fans for their lack of support, indicating that tension is beginning to creep into the Lions' camp.

Landon Donovan stands to with his 125th cap for the USA today against Slovenia, despite being only 28-years-old. Although Cobi Jones’ all-time appearance record for the Stars and Stripes is still a long way off at 164, the Los Angeles Galaxy star has plenty of time left in his career to reach that milestone. Additionally, he is already his country’s leading goal scorer, having found the net 42 times, including on his debut against Mexico in 2000.