In Group E we find Netherlands, Denmark, Japan, and Cameroon. I have picked the Dutch to win the whole tournament and I don't think that they will have many problems topping this group. Japan has been poor in their warm up matches, Cameroon has plenty of off field drama, and Denmark is battling injuries. It is all about the fight for second in this group.
Here is how the teams travel stacks up:
Netherlands start in Jo'burg at 1753m, next it is on to Durban 569km away at sea level, finally they move to Cape Town 1638km along the coast and still on sea level. As for warm up matches the Dutch have faced Mexico & Ghana, both of whom I predicted to win their groups, and won 2-1 & 4-1 respectively.
Denmark start in Jo'burg at 1753m, then they travel 62km to Pretoria and drop 539m, and they wrap up the group stage in Rustenburg only 104km away and 286m higher. The Danes beat Senegal and lost to Australia in their warm up matches with one more against South Africa still to come. The injury to Simon Kjaer has been the most serious of the many niggles on the Danish team.
Japan begin in Bloemfontein at 1400m, next they drop to sea level as they go the 637km south to Durban. Japan finish the stage in Rustenburg 693km away at 1500m. Japan's World Cup preparations began with a 2-0 loss to South Korea in Japan. They followed that up with losses to England & Ivory Coast in Europe.
Cameroon begin in Bloemfontein at 1400m, secondly they play in Pretoria a drop of 186m but 459km away, then they go to sea level and Cape Town, a journey of 1471km. Cameroon have had draws against Georgia and Slovakia as well as a loss to Portugal. They have one friendly remaining against Serbia. The off field war of words between former great Roger Milla and current star Samuel Eto'o has grabbed the most headlines in their lead up.
Here is how I see the matches going:
Netherlands - Denmark
The Dutch send a message to the rest of the teams in the tournament with a convincing win and a Robin van Persie hat trick.
Japan - Cameroon
Draw. Neither side has been playing well lately and neither look like finding much form before the tournament starts.
Netherlands - Japan
The Oranje continue their domination of this group with an easy win over the Blue Samurai.
Cameroon - Denmark
The Danes rebound from their loss to the Dutch with a solid win over Cameroon.
Denmark - Japan
The Danes only need a draw to advance if the Dutch beat Cameroon, and they put in a solid defensive performance and grab the second spot.
Cameroon - Netherlands
Another Dutch win, to wrap up the group with all 9 points.
Here is how the table will look:
Netherlands 9 points
Denmark 4 points
Japan 2 points
Cameroon 1 point