By Jay Mwamba
Cameroon threatened an early upset against Germany in Shizuoka yesterday before they bowed out 2-0, in an ill tempered Group E match that saw both
teams finish with 10 men.
The Lions wasted several wonderful opportunities in the first half, including a one-on-one between Salomon Olembe and goalkeeper Oliver Kahn, that they would later rue.
Marco Bode, sent on by Rudi Voeller for Carsten Jancker at halftime, netted in the 50th minute with German down to 10 men following the ejection of defender Carsten Ramelow (40th) for a second bookable offense.
Cameroon could not take advantage of their one-man advantage, which they eventually lost when substitute Patrick Suffo was also sent to the showers (77th) for rough play by Spanish referee Antonio Lopez Nieto.
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Two minutes after Suffo’s indiscretion, ‘rial specialist Miroslav Klose (79th) got his head to a Michael Ballack cross to extend Germany’s lead with his fifth goal of the tournament.
The closest Cameroon came to scoring in the second half was when Arsenal midfielder Lauren hit the upright.
Zinedane Zidane, the great star of France’s 1998 World Cup triumph, returned from injury but not even his prodigious skills could prevent the defending champions from going out in the first round after a 2-0 defeat by Denmark in Inchon.
Dennis Rommedahl (22nd) and Jon Dahl (Tomasson 67th) confirmed what has been a French debacle in the Far East by connecting in each half to earn the Danes (7) first place in Group A.
Runners-up Senegal led Uruguay 3-0 at halftime but unraveled in the second before settling for a 3-3 draw.
France posted the worst record by a defending champion in World Cup history as they finished bottom of the group without a point and without scoring a single goal.
Coach Roger Lemerre made no excuses for his team’s appalling performance, which began with a 1-0 loss to Senegal in the opening match on May 31.
“You have to tell it like it is. We failed to get to grips with this edition of the World Cup. We just weren’t up to it,” Lemerre said. “There’s nothing to say — we don’t deserve to qualify for the last 16.”
Senegal and Uruguay warmed up the fans in Suwon, ahead of Ireland’s Round of 16 appearance there this Sunday, with a six-goal thriller.
The West Africans were threatening to run away with it at the interval as they led 3-0 on goals by Khalilou Fadiga (20th pen.), and Pape Bouba Diop (26th, 38th).
Uruguay, who needed to win to advance to the second round, regrouped at halftime and reduced the arrears through substitutes Richard Morales (46th), and Manchester United’s Diego Forlan (69th), before Alvaro Recoba (88th pen.) snatched a late equalizer.