Breel Embolo leads Switzerland to victory over Cameroon in the FIFA World Cup

Breel Embolo leads Switzerland to victory over Cameroon in the FIFA World Cup

Briel Embolo scored the only goal of the match.© AFP

Brielle Embolo scored against the country of his birth as Switzerland beat Cameroon 1–0 to make a winning start to their World Cup campaign. Embolo scored three minutes into the second half at the Al Janoub Stadium as Switzerland secured a vital three points in a group that also includes tournament favorites Brazil and Serbia. Cameroon have now lost their last eight World Cup matches since 2002.

Roger Milla was presented with an award before kick-off as the oldest goalscorer in World Cup history, a reminder of past glory for Cameroon, who reached the quarter-finals 32 years ago. Has won just one game since.

Cameroon coach Rigobert Song, who played four World Cups with the 42-year-old Mili in 1994, picked in-form Eric Maxime Choupo-Moting to lead the attack in place of usual captain Vincent Aboubakar. African teams made an encouraging start in Qatar after failing to get past the group stage in 2018, but Cameroon will regret not being able to control the first half.

Brian Mbumo fired past Yann Sommer after a superb ball from Martin Hongla before Karl Toko Ekambi grabbed the rebound.

Sommer got down to make a save from Choupo-Moting after pinching the ball away from Manuel Akanji, however a suspect foul was given against the Bayern Munich striker. Sylvan Vidmar made a crucial challenge to prevent Toko Ekambi from turning in Collins Fai’s cross and Sommer pushed Hongla’s weak effort away.

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Akanji lofted a corner as Cameron closed in on the stroke of half-time, but there was no escape as they were caught snoozing again at the start of the second half. Granit Xhaka and Remo Freiler fired the ball wide to the right of Xherdan Shaqiri, whose low cross into the area was slotted home by an unmarked Embolo, who chose not to celebrate against his country of birth.

Choupo-Moting neatly past a couple of defenders in the box but could not beat Sommer from a tight angle. Andre Onana kept Cameroon in the game with a superb stop to deny Ruben Vargas, who found himself completely free in an almost carbon copy of Embolo’s goal.

Only a desperate block prevented Haris Seferovic from adding a late second. Song said the ranking means nothing coming into the tournament, but Cameroon’s eighth World Cup runs the risk of being abbreviated with games against Serbia and Brazil coming up.

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