Three quick thoughts after Japan's 3-1 victory over Denmark in Group E.
1. What a goal! In the 17th minute, Japanese striker Keisuke Honda stood over a free kick about 30-35 yards from goal on the right side of the field. Seemingly too far to threaten veteran Denmark goalkeeper Thomas Sorensen, it looked as if Honda would play a looping ball in with the hope that it would connect with a teammate. Instead, he left-footed a shot that, while not a cannon blast, had pace, and it swerved wickedly in midair. It started going right and Sorensen stepped that way, but it swerved back left and found the bottom of the net. Coming into this game there had been only two goals scored directly from free kicks, Japan and Honda had the third and then ...
2. What a goal, again! About 13 minutes after Honda's miracle strike, he stood over another free kick, this one from straight away and about 25-28 yards out. With the entire stadium believing he would try and swing the ball over the wall and into the left corner, he stood there motionless as midfielder Yasuhito Endo ran at the ball and right-footed a shot toward the opposite side. Sorensen wasn't fooled as badly as on Honda's earlier strike, but he didn't move hurriedly to his left and the ball sailed into the upper corner. Honda's blast might be considered more miraculous given that he was further out, but Endo's strike was also a gem.
3. Jon Dahl Tomasson had a night to forget. This could be said about so many of the Danes, but Tomasson's struggles were glaring. In the 70th minute, the veteran forward flubbed an open shot just a few steps to the left of the six, the third decent chance he missed in the game. Tomasson then took a poor penalty kick in the 81st minute, although he cleaned up the rebound for the Danes's lone goal. There were plenty of mediocre performances foe Denmark: Nicklas Bendtner looked uninterested; Dennis Rommedahl never threatened like he did against Cameroon; the two goals weren't the only times Sorensen looked shaky between the pipes. But Tomasson had the worst night, even if he did tally a goal.
We've Got Apps Too
Get expert analysis, unrivaled access, and the award-winning storytelling only SI can provide - from Peter King, Tom Verducci, Lee Jenkins, Seth Davis, and more - delivered straight to you, along with up-to-the-minute news and live scores.