Seven Ligue 1 players were part of the Cameroon team that crashed out of the World Cup last night after the 4-0 defeat against Croatia. Goals from Ivica Olic, Ivan Perisic and two from Mario Mandzukic and a straight red card for Barcelona midfielder Alex Song meant that Cameroon have now failed to qualify from their group six times in seven appearances.
Of the seven Ligue 1 representatives, the highest amount from one nation apart from France, only three started. Nicolas N’Koulou of Marseille, Benjamin Moukandjo of Nancy and Vincent Aboubakar were all named in the starting XI in the decisive match of Cameroon’s tournament.
Aboubakar was chosen over captain Samuel Eto’o after the former Chelsea forward was struggling with an injury. The 22-year-old started brightly, initially causing problems for the Croatian defence with his pace and height in the box.
As the match progressed, the Croats began to contain him as the Cameroon attack struggled to have any intensity. Any chance that Aboubakar managed to fashion for himself, he failed to take advantage of, hitting several chances either over the bar or wide of the target.
With a possible move to the Premier League in the offing, this wasn’t a performance that potential suitors will look at with positivity. He was substituted in the 70th minute with Pierre Webo coming on in his place.
Webo had Cameroon’s best chance of the game in the last few minutes, with his overhead kick producing a fine save from Stipe Pletikosa in the Croatian goal.
Moukandjo had a quiet night on the wing for Cameroon, unable to create chances similar to the one he had against Mexico that was superbly denied by goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa.
With the sending off of Song, the game was too difficult for Cameroon to try and create space for chances, with Croatia making their player advantage count. He upset former Tottenham defender Benito Assou-Ekotto late in the game and was on the end of a surprising headbutt from the QPR player that highlighted the frustration that was flowing within the Cameroon side.
Marseille’s N’Koulou also had a tricky night, trying to contain the free flowing Croatian attack. The defence was far too often opened up as the strike force of Croatia outmanoeuvred the ten man defence.
Edgar Salli of Lens was brought on in the 75th minute in place of Mainz winger Maxim Choupo-Moting but failed to provide any opportunities for a shock comeback from the four goal deficit.
Bordeaux’s Landry N’Guemo, Jean Makoun of Rennes and Henri Bedimo of Lyon were all unused substitutes as they saw their teammates crumple under the pressure of the European side.
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