This will be Cameroon’s eight appearance in the World Cup; the highest amongst African nations. Cameroon’s official language is English and French. Players from this West Central African region have found great success in Europe, in particular in France.
The 50th ranked Cameroonian side come into this World Cup as the lowest ranked nation. Over 200 different languages are spoken in the nation; a great illustration of African diversity.
Cameroon has only made it out of the group stage once, in the 1990 World Cup in Italy. In 1990, they achieved their best finish by reaching the quarter-finals, losing to England in extra time. Cameroon has won four African Cup of Nation titles. In South Africa, Cameroon struggled to win a single game,on route to becoming the first side mathematically eliminated from the tournament on African soil.
Even though this is their 8th appearance, the strong African nation has struggled at the World Cup. Cameroon has only won four times, while drawing seven matches and losing nine times in their 20 games at the FIFA World Cup. In 2006, they failed to even qualify for the World Cup. They qualified with a play-off win over Tunisia after winning their group over Libya, DR Congo and Togo.
Cameroon Group Schedule:
13 June 2014, 13:00 - Mexico - Cameroon - Arena das Dunas, Natal
18 June 2014, 18:00 - Cameroon - Croatia - Arena Amazônia, Manaus
23 June 2014, 17:00 - Cameroon - Brazil - Estádio Nacional Mané Garrincha , Brasília
Cameroon finds themselves in Group A with Brazil, the host nation of the World Cup, alongside Mexico and Croatia. Brazil, Mexico and Croatia are expected to be the main contenders to advance out of the group barring any unexpected turn of events that favours Cameroon.
Match to watch: Their first match is against Mexico in Natal on June 13th. This match against strong tournament performers Mexico will set the tone for Cameroon in the World Cup. A draw or win against Mexico will see The Indomitable Lions push for life beyond the group stages. Both Cameroon and Mexico will look to secure their hopes of advancing past the group stages with a win in their first match.
Their next match will be against Croatia in Manuas on June 18. Much like Mexico, the Croatian side will be pitting their hopes of advancing based on an easy win over Cameroon.
Their last match will be against Brazil on June 23, a match against the favourite team to win the World Cup. A draw and a win prior to their match against Brazil will keep Cameroonian hopes alive. The low ranked Cameroon side are not expected to win any games in their group.
Volker Finke is Cameroon’s head coach. The 66-year-old German, coached SC Freiburg of the Bundesliga for 16 years. Finke was named Coach on May 22nd of 2013. In 14 matches under Finke, Cameroon has won 5, drawn 5 and lost 4 matches. Finke should bring about German discipline to this Cameroonian side. The most successful African side in World Cup history will use a 4-3-3 system this time around.
Goalkeepers: Loic Feudjou (Coton Sport),Charles Itandje (Konyaspor), Sammy Ndjock (Fethiyespor)
Defenders: Benoit Assou-Ekotto (Tottenham Hotspur), Henri Bedimo (Olympique Lyon), Aurelien Chedjou (Galatasaray), Cedric Djeugou (Coton Sport), Nicolas Nkoulou (Olympique Marseille), Dany Nounkeu (Besiktas), Allan Nyom (Granada)
Midfielders: Enoh Eyong (Antalyaspor), Jean Makoun (Stade Rennes), Joel Matip (Schalke 04), Stephane Mbia (Sevilla), Benjamin Moukandjo (Nancy), Landry Nguemo (Girondins Bordeaux), Edgar Salli (Racing Lens), Alexandre Song (Barcelona)
Forwards: Vincent Aboubakar (Lorient), Eric-Maxim Choupo Moting (Mainz), Samuel Eto'o (Chelsea), Fabrice Olinga (Malaga), Achille Webo (Fenerbahce).
Chelsea striker Samuel Eto’o will be Cameroon’s captain in Brazil. Eto’o is Cameroon’s all-time leading scorer. In 117 caps for his nation, the 33 year-old has scored 56 strikes. However, Eto’o has always been criticized for not performing as well for his country as he does for his club. In 21 Premier League appearances this year for Chelsea, Eto’o found the back of the net 9 times, while assisting 2 goals.
Vincent Aboubakar will take some pressure off Eto’o upfront, being able to play anywhere across a front three. The pacey forward scored 16 goals and provided 6 assists for FC Lorient in Ligue 1. Aboubakar, was second only to the daring Zlatan Ibrahimovic (26G, 11A). With much attention on Aboubakar this transfer window from bigger clubs, he ought to bring his best boots to Brazil.
Cameroon’s odds of winning the World Cup are 500/1. It is misfortunate for Cameroon to be drawn in the same group as the host nation.
Much of their fate lies on Coach Finke. The German has not been shy in playing players out of position. Schalke Centre-back Joel Matip has found himself playing in the defensive midfield for Cameroon.
Mexico and Croatia both suffer from having a relatively slow defence. Cameroon’s counter attacking can prove to be the difference, having a stock pile of pacey forwards to utilise. The stage is set for one of my favourite wild cards in Aboubakar to have a coming out party in Brazil.
Brazil is a definite lock to make it out of this group. Realistically, Cameroon will struggle to finish above both Mexico, and Croatia. I predict Cameroon finishing 3rd in Group A. Even if they fail to advance, they have the ability to shape who advances out of the group. It will be a shock to see both Mexico and Croatia collapse at the grandest stage – then again, stranger things have happened in the World Cup.
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