Japan 2-1 Cameroon: Early goals put defending champs into the knockout rounds

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Defending champions Japan remain undefeated at the Women’s World Cup after defeating Cameroon 2-1 in Vancouver tonight. The win makes Japan the first team to qualify for the knockout rounds.

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Japan sits atop Group C with six points, while Cameroon drops down to third on goal differential following Switzerland’s 10-1 thumping of Ecuador.

Norio Sasaki’s side got off to a quick start, scoring twice in the opening 20 minutes to put Cameroon in a hole that they couldn’t climb out of. The first goal came in the sixth minute, when Nahomi Kawasumi’s cross trickled through the box to Aya Sameshima at the back post, who tucked it in for Japan.

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Yuika Sugasawa doubled the lead just over ten minutes later when Cameroon’s keeper Annette Ngo Ndom misjudged a cross from Japanese captain Aya Miyama. As Ndom came off her line to punch clear, the cross sailed over her head, where Sugasawa nodded home to put Japan up 2-0.

Cameroon nearly got on the scoresheet in the 71st minute, when an in-swinging free kick led to a mad scramble in the box. With Japan unable to clear as the ball continued to bounce off bodies, Cameroon was able to squeeze a shot through traffic, but it skimmed the outside of the net as the deficit remained two.

After relentless pressure, Ajara Nchout finally scored for Cameroon in the 90th minute, taking a through ball behind the Japanese defense and finishing past Ayumi Kaihori at the near post.