Cameroon, like different African nations, had a difficult street simply to get to the World Cup. Pitted towards mighty foe Ivory Coast, Cameroon would certainly have a troublesome time qualifying for the third time. It proved powerful on the second matchday of the group stage. Ivory Coast knocked off Cameroon, 2-1.
But, Cameroon rallied again. The Indomitable Lions went unbeaten in four-straight video games. Ultimately, it arrange a one-off recreation with the West African rivals to achieve the ultimate playoff section.
Though Cameroon had the assist of a frenzied Douala crowd, the sport was even tougher than marketed. The one factor stopping parity within the deadlocked recreation was Karl Toko Ekambi’s first-half objective. The match ended 1-0, sending Cameroon to the third spherical.
Cameroon’s grind by way of its qualifying group yielded a two-legged tie that proved to be more difficult. A recreation towards Algeria and its talisman Riyad Mahrez.
An all-time basic towards Algeria
Cameroon went down early to Islam Slimani’s Fortieth-minute objective at dwelling and could not make up the deficit. Cameroon entered its away leg trailing, 1-0.
But, Eric Maxim Choupo-Mouting confirmed up. Pouncing on a deflected nook kick, the now-Bayern attacker calmly slotted the ball into the online. Neither Algeria nor Cameroon may rating by the top of the ultimate whistle, so the match went to additional time.
After all, there have been shut shaves. Youcef Belaili stuttered a 2-on-1 proper after Choupo-Mouting’s strike. Additionally, Martin Hongla scuffed an try to put Cameroon forward, however each side obtained new probabilities as additional time commenced. Algeria’s Ahmed Touba made full use of it, flicking a header into the Cameroonian web within the 118th minute.
So, as Collins Fai boomed an oblique free kick into the field six minutes later, most Cameroon followers misplaced hope. The gang quieted right into a pessimistic whisper.
Then, Michael Ngadeu-Ngadjui performed a by way of ball to Toko Ekambi off the correct free kick. Toko Ekambi slammed it into the online within the 124th minute. Simply as he secured Cameroon’s spot on this section of qualifying, he launched Cameroon into the World Cup after lacking out on 2018. Total, it’s the nation’s eighth journey tp the match.
Whereas reaching the competitors out of African is an achievement by itself, Cameroon doesn’t have overly nice reminiscences on the World Cup. In truth, the facet’s record win on the World Cup was again in 2002. But, an explosive, new-look Cameroon group appears to duplicate Cameroon’s historic 1990 World Cup run. That Cameroon group beat South American giants Argentina and Colombia en path to the quarterfinals.
Cameroon key gamers on the World Cup
Vincent Aboubakar isn’t essentially the most well-known out of Cameroon’s 26-man squad for the World Cup. That being mentioned, he’s an important. The Al-Nassr striker carried Cameroon by way of the newest AFCON. Within the match, he scored eight objectives, adequate for the match’s golden boot.
With a Haaland-like construct and smooth ending expertise, it might be an understatement to name him offensively adept.
After two fruitless years with Porto that adopted his profitable, league-winning season, Aboubakar transferred to Besiktas in 2020. There, he scored 15 objectives within the season, tied-fifth within the Turkish Tremendous Lig, earlier than leaving Turkey for a profitable Saudi Arabia stint with Al-Nassr. Up to now, his keep in Saudi Arabia has been mediocre at finest and miserable at worst. To be truthful, his worldwide profession is one of the best angle to take a look at for Aboubakar. An upcoming pleasant tune-up earlier than the World Cup towards Panama is more likely to be his 91st cap. In that recreation, he can usurp Patrick M’boma as the only holder of third on Cameroon’s all-time scoring record.
Aboubakar’s success arguably solely comes with the assistance of a extra inventive attacker who can drop again and create area for Aboubakar. At Porto, that was Yacine Brahimi or Rachid Ghezzal. The explanation Aboubakar struggles at Al-Nassr is that he does not have a inventive maestro to assist him mastermind his objectives. Cameroon lacks that inventive ahead to assist Aboubakar knock some objectives in, which would be the largest query that Cameroon must resolve. Toko Ekambi or Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting should revive that goal-scoring type of years prior.
Regardless of what stats may say, Andre Onana is arguably Serie A’s finest shot-stopper. In a 2-0 loss towards German giants Bayern Munich on this season’s Champions League, Onana saved 10 makes an attempt. His heroic efficiency at Camp Nou yielded seven saves. After all, critics level to the three objectives he conceded as his drawbacks. Merely, he saved Inter in that recreation at instances.
Inter received six instances and misplaced as soon as when he performs in Serie A. Even with a considerably worse Cameroonian group, Onana proves himself. He conceded solely twice in a decent home-and-away collection towards Algeria. Previous to that, at AFCON, he placed on an impeccable goalkeeping efficiency. The lone blemish was a 3-3 recreation towards Burkina Faso.
Onana instructions a Cameroonian protection in want of a veteran chief. Nicolas Nkoulou and Collins Fai are good leaders who can information the again line. Neither play on the highest degree of aggressive soccer like Onana. The goalkeeper must step as much as put Cameroon within the knockout spherical.
Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa
Anguissa is Cameroon’s finest midfielder. He began 13 video games for Napoli, scored twice, and assisted thrice. And Anguissa has achieved all of it as a defensive midfielder. After all, Anguissa has highlights on offense, however his protection is likely to be higher. He has the tenth most blocks in Serie A (21), an correct passing completion share (87.6), and 23 tackles.
Anguissa is as dependent for Cameroon as he’s for Napoli. Regardless of lacking a World Cup showdown with Algeria because of damage, Anguissa missed solely eleven minutes in Cameroon’s run to 3rd place in AFCON. Anguissa is as irreplaceable as Onana or Aboubakar due to his bodily attributes and stamina, which can assist him on each side of the ball.
Enjoying out Group G
With out mincing phrases, Cameroon’s possibilities of escaping Group G are near none.
The primary match is a decent opener towards Switzerland. Switzerland received its final three video games, all towards stark opposition. Portugal, Spain, and the Czech Republic. The Swiss can beat prime groups as they did in Euros towards France, they usually constantly shut down Italy throughout World Cup qualifying to make it to Qatar.
Switzerland’s stifling protection shall be Cameroon’s largest risk, particularly contemplating its reliance on an overwhelming offense. cameroon can break down Switzerland’s compact protection by taking notes from Portugal’s 4-0 demolition within the Nations League.
Fast counterattacks and flurries of motion pressured Switzerland into motion, letting Cristiano Ronaldo wreak havoc and trigger chaos. If Aboubakar can transfer the Switzerland center-backs out of place, Cameroon has a combating likelihood of getting a couple of factors out of the Swiss.
Cameroon’s subsequent opponent, Serbia, has not misplaced in 5 video games. Their potent combination of goalscoring expertise in Alexsandar Mitrovic, Dusan Vlahovic, and Luka Jovic bodes properly. Then, the suppliers to these retailers, Dusan Tadic, Sergej and Filip Kostic make for a relentless risk throughout the entrance six.
The squad is stacked. It is virtually stunning why the world failed to note Serbia’s power till after it beat Portugal to safe an computerized World Cup berth. Onana should work extra time defending towards what is going to in all probability be a flurry of Serbian photographs.
Cameroon’s dreaded opponent is actually the World Cup favorite. Maybe one of the best entrance on the earth of soccer. Neymar, Vinícius Junior, Richarlison, Antony, Raphinha, Gabriel Jesus and Rodrygo simply as examples. Defensively, there’s expertise by way of Thiago Silva, Marquinhos, Alisson, Eder Militao and extra. Brazil final misplaced within the 2021 Copa America Last.
Lately, Brazil smashed 5 previous South Korea earlier than narrowly beating Japan. Different buddies featured eight objectives towards fellow African World Cup groups Ghana and Tunisia.
Sure, Cameroon is an effective group on the World Cup. Brazil is assuredly higher. Supervisor Rigobert Tune is aware of that, and a conservative protection will see the pitch after they face the Selecao.
PHOTO: IMAGO / Sebastian Frej
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