Bert van Marwijk, Netherlands coach
We might be seen as favourites, but the group will be very difficult for us. Denmark are a team we know very well, and you only need to see that they qualified in front of Portugal, Sweden and Hungary to see they have a very good team. We beat Japan recently in a friendly match, it’s true, but it’s difficult to say whether that will be an advantage or not. Although we won 3-0, I said afterwards that the score was misleading because the game was nowhere near as easy as it seemed. We didn’t deserve to win like that. Japan have a very good team, they are strong technically and tactically. Their only problem against us was in scoring goals. And Cameroon are one of the top three African nations, so it’s a dangerous group for us. But we have know that if we have our strongest team and everyone is in form, we can beat everyone. We must have the right form and the right mentality. You have to have confidence in yourself, but you must not be arrogant.
Morten Olsen, Denmark coach
It’s a group with different styles of football from different continents, and I think that’s intriguing. We know Dutch football very well and I think it’s obvious that they must be the clear favourites in this section. For the other three, it could be a case of fighting for second place. Japan play a nice style, although I don’t know them so well, while Cameroon are a top African team with players in all the major European leagues, so it’s a difficult one for us. The most important thing will probably be who has players fit and in good form going into the tournament. We used 40 players during qualifying and had a lot of problems with injuries, so I’m hoping we have a more settled period over the next few months and that we have healthy, fit players who are ready to go to the World Cup and play well. Only once I know how we are looking in that respect can I say how hopeful I am of making it through. We hope to play well and hope also to be lucky. That always helps!
Takeshi Okada, Japan coach
Our goal is to reach the last four and we were never going to change that, regardless of results of the draw. We have obviously been drawn in a group that features two European teams and the tasks facing us is clearly not easy. But we have prepared against European teams for years and we want very much to defeat them. So the draw is not too bad for us as it provides with us a chance to fulfil our aim. It is an open group and we must now on focus on preparing for the tournament itself. We have learned about the hurdles we have to overcome, so the next step is to make plans and carry them out.
Paul Le Guen, Cameroon coach
It could have been easier for us, but it could also have been more difficult. The Netherlands are clearly the favourites and there is a reason for that – they have the best team in the group. But although it will be difficult for us, it’s not impossible. I don’t know too much about Denmark, but I will study them more closely over the next six or seven months. I know many of their players and they definitely have a lot of talent in their squad. With Japan, I have some hard work ahead because the only player I know well is [Shunsuke] Nakamura. That is not enough, so I will be making sure that I find out a lot more before 2010. As for Cameroon, we certainly have some good players, a good spirit and we have improved a lot since I first took the job. It will be a special World Cup for us, simply because it is in Africa, and I know the players feel that. The location could well be an advantage for us.