DURBAN, South Africa (AFP) - Cameroon warned on Thursday that they might have lost a fight against Japan, but they remain committed to the battle that is the World Cup.
The Cameroonians, in a record sixth World Cup appearance for an African country, went down 1-0 to the Japanese in their opening Group E game and on Saturday take on Denmark, who went down 2-0 to the Netherlands.
But Monaco defender Nicolas Nkoulou was adamant that Cameroon could bounce back from that shock win for the Blue Samurai, their first World Cup victory on foreign soil.
"We lost a battle but not the war. Everyone's behind us. It's important to react on the pitch," Nkoulou said.
"We're not very happy with the number of goals we've conceded (eight in the last three games). We'll do all we can to perform better come Saturday."
Valenciennes defender Gaetan Bong insisted there were some positives to come from the defeat to Japan, despite the team looking impotent in attack against a side that was considered by far the weakest in the group.
Added to that problem was coach Paul Le Guen's controversial decision to start captain and star striker Samuel Eto'o on the right. It spectacularly backfired as Eto'o had no service and was largely anonymous.
"There were some good things in the Japan game," Bong said. "We tried to create some chances, and we'll look to the positives to take on for Saturday's match.
"The defeat was frustrating. We wanted to really kick off the World Cup with a win. Unfortunately that wasn't possible. Now we want to win and go far to disprove our bad start to this tournament."
He added: "Football is never perfect and it's not only about winning. We're not the first team to lose a match. There were good things to work on, we'll put the bad things to one side and we'll move on and play a good World Cup."
Real Betis striker Achille Emana moved to play down talk of any rift in the Cameroon camp.
With Eto'o unusually watching on from the sidelines of the press conference, Emana said: "There are no problems in the camp. I have no problem with Samuel.
"We're all walking on the same path.
"The World Cup represents something very important for us and the country. We all want to win the match on Saturday."
Both Cameroon and Denmark know that a defeat at the Loftus Versfeld stadium on Saturday could spell the end of their interest in this year's tournament.
If the Netherlands and Japan were to draw in the other group game, then a defeat would see either Cameroon or Denmark eliminated.
But with two rivals already on three points, anything other than a victory will leave either side still with a mountain to climb in order to reach the knock-out phase.
|Coach: T. Okada|
for D. Matsui 69'
for Y. Ōkubo 82'
for M. Hasebe 88'
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