Cameroon take on Brazil at the Lusail Iconic Stadium on Friday. It is both teams’ final fixture of Group G in the Qatar World Cup and it is a crucial fixture for Cameroon.
Brazil have won five of their six meetings with Cameroon in all competitions, most recently edging a 1-0 victory in 2018. In World Cups, Brazil has a 100%-win rate when facing Cameroon, in fact, they have never lost to an African side in the competition.
A defeat or draw will not be enough for Cameroon, who must win, or they are out of the World Cup. Cameroon have improved their squad a lot in recent years, with Choupo-Moting of Bayern Munich coming into this tournament on form, as well as Napoli’s Anguissa.
Bryan Mbuemo has also added something new to Rigobert Song’s attack who will need to be at their sharpest on Friday, but unfortunately for Cameroon, they are about to play one of the most talent-rich international squads in the World Cup.
Tite’s Brazil have secured the knockout stages early, as expected. They have booked themselves a spot before the last fixture of the group and the objective of this game is to secure top spot with a win or draw, and to rotate in this fixture to prepare themselves for the knockout stages.
Cameroon would do a great job just to test the Brazil goalkeeper, who hasn’t faced a shot on target yet in the Qatar World Cup. There has never been a better time to do it for Cameroon than after a 3-3 draw with Serbia, the first time ever a Cameroon side has scored 3 goals in a single World Cup game.
One man who knows about top level players is former Cameroon international and Wolves defender, George Elokobi. He said: “Brazil is an outstanding national team with world class players.
“Everybody talks about Neymar, Vinicius, but they (Brazil) are a great team with amazing players because they are a footballing nation.
“They’ve won world cups and tournaments. You do that because of a great team, not individuals. We’re looking at a squad, not just one player. The whole team can hurt you.”
The former Premier League defender recognises Brazil’s quality but doesn’t lack belief for his team: “You need to believe. Cameroon has a 100% chance. You need motivation.
“You need a disciplined performance if you want anything out of a game with Brazil.”
Elokobi voiced that to win games, you need a good strike force, and he highlighted two names as two of Cameroon’s biggest assets.
“Some of the key Cameroon players are Choupo-Moting, he’s a Bayern Munich player who can score a lot of goals.
“Vincent Aboubakar is striker who can surprise you on his day and is a match-winner. He will be crucial if Cameroon progress.
“It’s not just them two though, there are 11 players on the pitch and every player has to do a job for the team.”
Heading into this fixture, Tite could be looking at rotating his Brazil side, which could see the likes of Arsenal’s Gabriel Jesus starting. Brazil will still be without Neymar for this fixture after he suffered an ankle injury against Serbia.
Rigobert Song will surely start Vincent Aboubakar after the impact he had off the bench against Serbia. The physical but fast striker scored an outrageous scoop over the goalkeeper and assisted Choupo-Moting in his last game, single-handly keeping Cameroon alive and fighting in this World Cup.
All eyes will be on the goalkeeper, Andre Onana, and if he will start. He is Cameroon’s first choice keeper but missed out against Serbia due to ‘disciplinary reasons’.
Not only will they need a team set up tactically perfectly, but they will also need the belief that they played with in the second half against Serbia when they are completely stacked against the odds against Brazil.
As George Elokobi stated, “You need to believe. Cameroon has a 100% chance. You need motivation.”
With the weight of a whole country on their shoulders, could Cameroon do the unthinkable and overturn Brazil?