12 June 2014

Africa: Cameroon Opens Campaign with Clash Against Mexico

Photo: Lefty Shivambu/Gallo-Stanbic
Despite fallouts with his teammates, Samuel Eto'o will bring experience, steely determination and gravitas to the Cameroon side.

Mexico vs Cameroon preview

Cameroon, appearing at an African record seventh World Cup finals, open their 2014 campaign in Brazil with a Group A clash against Mexico.

MATCH FACTS

Date: Friday, June 13

Kick-off: 16h00 (GMT)

Venue: Estadio das Dunas, Natal

Referee: Wilmar Roldan (Colombia)

OVERVIEW

Cameroon come into the World Cup after a fair amount of behind the scenes rumblings over player pay that appears to have been resolved for now.

This is nothing new of course, the last few years have seen massive upheaval within the squad, personality clashes and the like which have hindered the progress of what is a talented group of players.

It will be a relief for all when the football gets under way and the Indomitable Lions, who hold a soft spot in the hearts of many  following their plucky display at the 1990 World Cup in Italy, have a winnable game first up.

Mexico are no pushovers, but they should be viewed as beatable, a country that has never quite lived up to its footballing potential.

The central American side come into the fixture on the back of successive 1-0 losses to Bosnia-Herzegovina and Portugal respectively, sapping perhaps some confidence from the team.

Cameroon's form generally has been patchy, but they did earn a fine 2-2 draw with Germany at the end of May and followed that up with an expected 1-0 home win over Moldova.

In a group in which Brazil are excepted to coast home but second place is very much up for grabs, getting off to a positive start will be key for both teams with bigger challenges to come.

The only previous meeting between the sides came all the way back in 1993 when Mexico triumphed 1-0 in a friendly in Los Angeles.

KEY PLAYERS

Rafael Marquez (Mexico) - The veteran centre-back remains a key part of this Mexican side and having played 120 games for his country, comes with vast experience. In a team that can lose their heads when the going gets tough, he will have to keep his and bring a calming influence to the side.

Samuel Eto'o (Cameroon) - Not the potent force of old but still vitally important to the Cameroon cause, Eto'o brings experience, skill and a little gravitas to this Indomitable Lions outfit. He is the best finisher in this Cameroon set-up and will be relied on to score the goals that get them into the next round.

WHAT THEY SAY

Miguel Herrera (Mexico coach) - "The most important game is the first, the boys now have in their heads beat Cameroon. (We qualified) with the idea to win every game, we know that all three are very tough opponents."

Volker Finke (Cameroon coach) - "I know that (Mexico) had a lot of problems in qualifying and that it was difficult, but it is a very dangerous team, with an intense spirit. We've seen the videos of their friendly games and I can see that it is a difficult team, but one that can be beaten."

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