World Cup Group E preview
Predicted order of finish:
The fixtures could make this an intriguing group, in as much as the Netherlands faces what is likely to be its hardest game first. If it beats Denmark on June 14, it should be home and dry, but the Danes will be organized and awkward, and if the Dutch slip up, there will at least be pressure on their remaining fixtures against Japan and Cameroon. Similarly, a winning start later that afternoon for either Japan or Cameroon -- although you fear Cameroon will physically overpower Japan, much as Australia did four years ago -- could give them the momentum they need to raise themselves to a serious challenge for qualification.
Realistically, unless Cameroon loses that opening game, the key match in terms of who qualifies behind the Netherlands will be its second fixture against Denmark in Pretoria on June 19. Neither side is particularly gifted in wide areas, so its likely to become a grinding midfield battle, in which Denmark is probably favorite if only for Cameroon's capacity for occasional slapstick defending.