Cameroon, next to Australia, is the team that only narrowly qualified for the World Cup. While Australia needed to survive a penalty shootout, Cameroon made it to the final with a 120+4 goal that crushed Algeria’s dream. 22 years ago, Cameroon was crowned Olympic champions and they have won the Africa Cup of Nations five times, but nowadays, the team is not as strong.
How do they play?
Cameroon’s head coach Rigobert Song, with the help of the local football association, has worked hard to try and bring fresh blood to the team over the past year. This has resulted in looking for players from all over the world, and this in turn hasn’t left a lot of time for preparations. Most of the time, Song has used the classical 4-4-2 formation, which won’t take players long to master. With this, Cameroon’s game has been rather balanced – in defense things have become more solid and goals are usually scored through counterattacks.
Why they can win?
The team’s leaders come to the World Cup with good momentum. Andre Onana has displayed impressive performances in front of Inter Milan’s goal in Autumn, and it was largely thanks to him that Inter pushed Barcelona into the Europa League. Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting has filled Robert Lewandowski’s shoes at Bayern Munich as it’s hard to find a game where he hasn’t scored or at least provided an assist. Cameroon has leaders to lean on at both ends of the pitch and that will surely give confidence to the rest of the squad as well.
Why they can lose?
Although Cameroon has solid leaders, the rest of the team is rather unknown. Can coach Song get the new men to perform at the very highest level and cooperate well? Over the last year, more than 30 players with a single-digit number of international games have played for the Cameroon national team. This poses a big risk – it’s either a bright future or a big flop.
The leading stars
Andre Onana is arguably one of the best goalkeepers in the world. He has surpassed his interim worries and is regaining his form. Upfront, there are three main leaders – Bayern Munich’s star Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting, team captain Vincent Aboubakar and Lyon’s stallion Karl Toko Ekambi. In midfield, Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa, the star of Napoli, will be leading the way.
The fresh faces
Bryan Mbeumo is one of the many who represented France during his youth. In August, the youngster met Cameroon legend Samuel Eto’o, now the head of the Cameroon Football Association, and decided to exchange his football citizenship for that of Cameroon. Now, the 23-year-old has already made his Brentford debut and is eager to play his first-ever major tournament.