23 June 2014

Africa: Cameroon Blitzed By Slick Brazil

Photo: Gavin Barker/BackpagePix
Alexander Song apologises for a foul in Cameroon's clash with Mexico.

Cameroon's calamitous World Cup came to an end with a third straight defeat as they lost 4-1 to hosts Brazil in Brasilia on Monday.

Despite the one-sided scoreline, it was arguably the best performance of the finals for the Indomitable Lions, who caused a number of problems for their more fancied opponents.

But they were just up against a superior side. Brazil's triumph came thanks to a brace from superstar Neymar, another from Fernandinho and a fourth from Fred, who finally broke his World Cup duck.

Cameroon had equalized the game in the first half as German-born Joel Matip scored his first international goal and his country's only one of the tournament.

The result means Brazil top Group A and will face Chile in the second round in Belo Horizonte on Saturday.

Cameroon go home.Given their lack of points and the number of goals  they conceded, they are potentially the worst- performing side at the tournament.

With nothing to lose, the African side were always going to be a little more free-spirited in this fixture and they certainly gave as good as they got for large parts of the game.

But it was the clinical nature with which Brazil finished the opportunities that really separated the sides.

As expected, Cameroon left-back Benoît Assou-Ekotto was dropped after his attempted head-butt on teammate Benjamin in the 4-0 loss to Croatia last time out and replaced by Henri Bedimo.

Neymar's opener on 17 minutes was a touch of class as Luiz Gustavo stole the ball off Moukandjo and provided a low cross for the Barcelona forward to steer into the back of the net.

Cameroon took the game to their hosts after that and claimed a deserved equalizer as excellent work on the left from Allan Nyom teed-up Matip to tap the ball home.

The home side were ahead again on 34 minutes when the irrepressible Neymar picked up the ball on the edge of the box, cut to his right and then drilled a low shot past the helpless Charles Itandje in the Cameroon goal.

That was the way it stayed until the 50th minute when Brazil pulled ahead, with Fred bundling home a David Luiz cross - much to his relief, having come in for criticism in Brazil's opening two matches for a lack of potency in front of goal.

Cameroon kept puffing away, but Brazil completed the job with a fourth through Fernandinho with six minutes remaining to add further gloss to the scoreline.

No wins, one goal scored and nine conceded made it a dismal World Cup for Cameroon, who have plenty of soul-searching to do in the coming months as they prepare for their next challenge -- the qualifiers for the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations that start in September.

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