Day 9 of the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ proved to be a decisive one in Group E, where the Netherlands beat Japan 1-0 to become the first side to make sure of their place in the Round of 16. In contrast Cameroon became the first team to exit the tournament after losing 2-1 to Denmark. In the day's other game, Ghana could only draw with ten-man Australia, though it was still enough to take them top of Group D.
As the tight scoreline suggests, Bert van Marwijk's Oranje did not have things all their own way against Japan. Narrow though it was, the win took their unbeaten run to 21 games and came about courtesy of a swerving Wesley Sneijder drive that completely deceived Japan keeper Eiji Kawashima. To join the Dutch in the knockout stages, the Japanese need a point from their final game against Denmark.
Cameroon have no such hopes of advancing, despite Samuel Eto'o giving them an early lead against Denmark. In what was the pick of the day's games, Morten Olsen's men launched a stirring comeback, with Nicklas Bendtner and Dennis Rommedahl striking either side of half-time to keep their hopes of progressing intact.
Cameroon's continental rivals Ghana are in a much more comfortable position after drawing with ten-man Australia in the 100th game played by an African side in the competition. After Brett Holman had put the Aussies in front early on, Asamoah Gyan scored from the spot for the second game running, securing a point for the Black Stars that lifts them to the summit of Group E. The Ghanaians face second-placed Germany in their final game, while the Socceroos, who now need a miracle to advance, will meet Serbia.
Netherlands 1-0 Japan
Ghana 1-1 Australia
Cameroon 1-2 Denmark
Goal of the day
Cameroon 1-2 Denmark, Dennis Rommedahl, 61 mins: After setting up his side's equaliser, the Denmark winger set the seal on a fine individual display with a classy match-winning effort. Picking up the ball on the right, the Ajax man surged into the area, cut inside his marker and curled a precise shot just inside the far post.
One to remember
Ghana's talents extend far beyond football. On their arrival at the Royal Bakofeng Stadium in Rustenburg on Saturday, the Black Stars took the stadium volunteers and officials by surprise with an impromptu session of singing and dancing, repeating the show when they celebrated their equaliser against Australia.
Quote of the day
"You have to be happy when you win two games back to back, but we can play better and we need to play better if we want to go far. We'll keep on having a long hard look at ourselves and try to stay grounded," Bert van Marwijk, Netherlands coach.
Stat of the day
150 - Harry Kewell's red card against Ghana was the fourth shown to an Australian player in the history of the FIFA World Cup finals and the 150th overall.
Voice of the fans
"Cameroon, Cameroon. If only you could finish off those plays – 23 shots on goal and only one scored! Good job, Denmark," FIFA.com user Imersor.
Have your say
Do Ghana have what it takes to beat Germany in their final group game? Which Group E outfit will join the Netherlands in the next round?