A goal by Keisuke Honda gave Japan their first World Cup win outside their country on Monday as they beat Cameroon 1-0.
His goal late in the first-half was also a belated birthday present as the CSKA Moscow star turned 24 on Sunday.
Cameroon hardly lived up to their nickname of ‘The Indomitable Lions’ and star striker Samuel Eto'o was virtually anonymous, although they almost grabbed a draw when Stephane M'Bia hit the bar with a long range effort five minutes from time.
In front of banks of empty seats at the Free State stadium, the crowd whipped up a lively atmosphere but the players from both sides struggled for rhythm.
With half-time approaching, Honda controlled a cross from the right by Daisuke Matsui at the far post and stabbed it past the despairing dive of Hamidou Souleymanou in the Cameroon goal.