The 0-0 draw again Mexico was not written in the script for Brazil and their fans and they go into the last match in the group with a small chance that they may not make it to the next round. A loss to an already eliminated Cameroon, coupled with a draw in the match between Mexico and Croatia may knock Brazil out of the competition, which would be a travesty for the country and the tournament. Albeit is only a small chance, Brazil will want to reach the next stage in style by beating a Cameroon side that have been nothing short of poor so far.
Another substandard performance from the Brazil side as well as some extraordinary goalkeeping from Mexico stopper Ochoa led to both teams sharing the points, which was a fair result. So far we are yet to see the natural flair and entertainment normally associated with Brazilian sides, especially on their home turf. This could be due to the pressure on their shoulders, although that would be a discredit to Croatia and Mexico who are both quality teams. On the other hand, the cliché saying is that it’s not how you start but how you finish and generally if you are to win the tournament, you grow and improve as the games go on which the whole of Brazil will be hoping for.
Scolari may choose to make a few changes with his bench players eager to impress having watched the first 11 underperform in the last two games. Fred’s place in the squad is under threat after too poor performances so he could make way for Jo.
Willian and Hernanes will also be pushing for a place in the first team after good seasons at their club sides.
Key Player: Neymar
Neymar hasn’t been as electric as many predicted but has been effective in his role supporting the striker. After scoring twice in the first game, he could’ve had a few more and been sitting pretty at the top of the scorers chat but was thwarted a number of times by Ochoa in goal for Mexico. So far, he’s created six chances in his two games with a shot accuracy of 80%. With Cameroon seemingly in disarray, this would be a perfect opportunity for Neymar to strut his stuff and show the world what he is capable of. I for one would expect him to take his chance to score a goal or two and exploit the defensive frailties of the African side.
Cameroon have nothing to show from their first two games and with a lack of presence at either end of the field, it has been easy for the opposition to take advantage of their shortcomings. Against Mexico, they lacked the cutting edge to threaten and even though it was a 1-0 score line, it was much more comfortable from Mexico who has two goals wrongly chalked off. They were completely outplayed by Croatia and lacked the discipline needed for a side that had to win to stay alive. This is a dead rubber for the African side, but they will want to bow out with a good performance against the hosts, which will give their fans something to cheer about after a dismal tournament so far.
It will be touch and go as to whether Samuel Eto’o will be available for the clash against Brazil. The former Chelsea striker suffered a knee injury in the loss against Mexico and was forced to miss the match against Croatia.
Alex Song is suspended for the last game after being sent-off for a needless elbow out of frustration on Mario Mandzukic. It summed up Cameroon’s tournament as they lacked discipline and by the end of the match they had confrontations between their own players, something that will have been addressed before this match.
Key Player: Stéphane Mbia
One of the senior members of the side, Mbia has nine years international experience and will be disappointed with his side’s effort in this year’s World Cup. After a great campaign with Sevilla, winning the Europa League, this tournament will end his season on a bad note but he will hope to rally his troops to a performance to be proud of against Brazil. With an 88% passing accuracy and 63% of his challenges successful, Mbia will be assigned to marshal Cameroon’s midfield in an attempt to stop players like Oscar and Neymar getting in behind the defence and causing trouble. That is obviously easier said than done so Mbia and co will have to be in top form to stop their opposition who will have the whole stadium behind them.
Possible Line Up
The two teams have met four times before in their history with Brazil winning three of those matches and one solitary win for Cameroon, However, Cameroon’s win came in the last match between the teams in the Confederations Cup in 2003, where a 1-0, courtesy of a Samuel Eto’o goal helped the African side qualify from the group whilst knocking out Brazil from the tournament. Cameroon went on to reach the final, losing to France but the competition will be sadly remembered for the death of Marc-Vivien Foé, who collapsed and died in the semi-final against Columbia.
With the two teams form going into the contest, you can’t look past a Brazil victory here. Cameroon are on the ropes and I can see Brazil piling on the misery in an emphatic win which will help them top the group and qualify for the next round.