Midfielder Junichi Inamoto believes Japan can flourish at the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ after Monday's win over Cameroon ended a five-match winless streak. Japan had lost all four warm-up matches before being held to a goalless draw by Zimbabwe in a hastily arranged final friendly last week.
But Keisuke Honda's first-half strike handed Japan a first FIFA World Cup win on foreign soil, as well as a first victory in their opening game at a finals. ''We got what we needed to get done against Cameroon and were able to deal with their long balls and got to the second ball first," said Inamoto, who came on as a late substitute in Monday's game. "We got our goal and everyone stayed totally focused."
''It was our first win after losing four on the spin and that has strengthened our sense of togetherness," he added. "To win our opening game at the World Cup for the first time is massive, and this has given us a little room to breathe for our next two matches."
Takeshi Okada's side now face the Netherlands on Saturday in Durban before rounding off their Group E campaign against Denmark a week on Thursday. ''I think that the Denmark game will be our hardest match," added Inamoto. "They have got a lot of players who are very gifted physically.
''They are probably going to play a long ball game, the type of game that Japan hates. Stopping them playing the long ball will be crucial and when they do hit their passes long we need to be quick to react and cover. I don't think Holland will resort to a long ball game and we have to look at how we can hit them on the break.''