Veteran winger Dennis Rommedahl inspired Denmark to a thrilling 2-1 victory in Pretoria, claiming one goal and setting up another as Morten Olsen's side dumped Cameroon out of the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ and, in the process, ensured the Netherlands, Group E leaders, a last-16 spot.
Cameroon coach Paul Le Guen made three changes to the side which had lost to Japan, while the Danes were boosted by the return of skipper Jon Dahl Tomasson. Samuel Eto'o was back in a central role up front, having played wide on the right in the opening game, and that switch looked like paying off as early as the fifth minute when Achille Emana teed him up for a low drive which flashed a yard wide.
Denmark, playing in all white, had been largely anonymous in the opening few minutes, with Eto'o and Stephane Mbia prominent in a lively start by Le Guen's side. However, moments after the Cameroon captain had showed his intentions, the Danes fired a reminder that they too were desperate for the win as Rommedahl sprang Cameroon's offside trap and fizzed a shot a yard over.
The west African side were on top, though, in the early stages, no doubt driven on by the deafening chorus of vuvezelas, which only got louder when a lapse in concentration by Christian Poulsen gifted Cameroon a 10th-minute lead. Only days after Daniel Agger's own goal had put them on the path to defeat against the Dutch, Denmark were handing out presents once again, with the blond defender laying Thomas Sorensen's clearance right into the path of the grateful Pierre Webo. He clipped a tidy cross into Eto'o and the Inter Milan striker slid the ball home with ease.
Yet Denmark refused to be shaken in the way they had been against the Netherlands and slowly clawed their way back into the game. Twice Jesper Gronkjaer went close within the space of 60 seconds – first rifling in a shot which was deflected out by Nicolas Nkoulou, then trying his luck with a diving header from the resulting corner. The Danes still had to be alert at the other end of the pitch and Cameroon might have restored their lead but for some less-than-impressive finishing from Emana.
With their inspirational captain Tomasson back on board, and Bendtner clearly benefitting from a few extra days' training, the Danes grew in confidence and their pressure paid off after 33 minutes when Rommedahl set off down the right before firing an inviting ball across the face of goal which Bendtner prodded home with his right foot. The match swung from end to end as the first half reached a a thrilling climax. Rommedahl and Tomasson both tested the Cameroon rearguard, while Eto'o saw his shot clatter the post. Emana then almost finished off a dangerous burst forward, but Sorensen was equal to his chip.
More goals seemed inevitable and Webo, a constant threat, twice went close to edging his side in front as the hour mark approached. He failed to profit, however, and was left to rue his missed opportunities when, just seconds later, the Danes raced down the other end of the pitch and took a crucial lead through Rommedahl, who curled an exquisite left-foot shot past the despairing dive of Hamidou Souleymanou.
There was no let-up from either side as the clock ticked on. Cameroon substitute Mohamadou Idrissou missed a hat-trick of gilt-edged chances, Tomasson's tame effort was easily claimed by Souleymanou, and Emana's right-foot effort was athletically palmed away by Sorensen. Vincent Aboubakar also went close in a frantic finish but the Danes held out for a memorable win in the face of waves of late Cameroon pressure. The Indomitable Lions are out but Denmark march on to a win-or-bust encounter with Japan in Rustenburg on Thursday.