It’s always nice to read about whatever team is in the spotlight (i.e. England and Robert Green), but somtimes I find it nice to look into the less popular teams to get a good grasp on what else is going on in this tournament.
Tomorrow Cameroon and Japan go head to head in a battle of a pretty tough group E. Here are some things you might not have known about the two sides.
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- Although they have no official nickname, they have apparently been recently dubbed the Samurai Blue, which is pretty kickass if you ask me.
- Japan is currently ranked 45th in the FIFA world rankings. They have qualified for the last four world cups and their best result came in 2002 when they were knocked out in the round of 16 by Turkey.
- The Japanese’s biggest success has come at the Asian Cup, which they have hoisted three times (1992, 2000, 2004) out of the six appearances they have made.
- Of the players on their current squad, captain Yoshikatsu Kawaguchi leads all players with 116 caps. If you’re wondering why it’s taking him so long to get a goal to his name for Japan, it’s because he’s a goalkeeper. Defender Yuji Nakazawa is not far behind at 105 caps, with Shunsuke Nakamura (97) and Yoshi Endo (94) rounding out a fairly experienced team. From the current squad, Nakamura leads all with 24 goals.
- Japan has one of the highest sponsorship deals of all national teams, making about 16.5 million pounds based on sponsorships alone. Some of their sponsors include Adidas, Sony and Fujifilm.
- Possibly one of the best nicknames in sport, the indomitable lions are Africa’s most successful nation when it comes to football. They have qualified six times for the tournament and their successes include a quarterfinal appearance in 1990, 4 African Nations Cups and a runner up spot at the Confederation’s Cup.
- They are currently ranked 19th in the FIFA World Rankings
- For those that can recall the promising talent that was Marc-Vivien Foe, you must have played a lot of championship manager in years past. In 2003, he collapsed on the field in the 72nd minute in a Confederations Cup match against Colombia and later died of hypertropic cardiomyopathy, which is a fancy way for saying that you are prone to sudden death while exercising. It was the saddest moment in Cameroonian football history, and a sad moment in football history on the whole as well.
- Of their current squad, Rigobert Song holds the most caps at 133. Not far behind him is Geremi at 109, and captain Samuel Eto’o at 96.
- Eto’o is also the all time leading goalscorer for his country, scoring 43 goals, presumably in a fashion that only Samuel Eto’o is capable of.
Japan and Cameroon have squared of a grand total of 3 times with Japan winning twice and drawing once.
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