Cameroon: Indomitable Lions Face Tough Task After World Cup Defeat

15 June 2010

Cameroon players will be waking up on Tuesday morning wondering whether their 2010 FIFA World Cup campaign is over after their first match, a desperately disappointing 1-0 loss to Japan in Bloemfontein.

Nothing has been mathematically decided of course, with the Indomitable Lions still to face Denmark and the Netherlands in Group E, but the Japan result has left them needing at least a point from the Dutch game, and that is assuming they beat Denmark too.

This is looking an increasingly tough task for a side who have not really played well in 2010, starting with  the Nations Cup in Angola, where they limped through the group phase before losing to Egypt in the quarter-finals.

Coach Paul Le Guen criticised the attitude of his players after their defeat on Monday, saying they played well within themselves.

"I'm upset we have lost the game but our attitude was wrong," Le Guen said. "We were tense and nervous, especially in the first half. We did not show what we are capable of. We were not at our level and kept losing possession."

But perhaps the coach should shoulder some of the blame too, particularly for his frankly bizarre decision to play star striker Samuel Eto'o on the right wing, an experiment that failed dismally.

"I chose the position for him and I take responsibility for that," Le Guen said. "You make the choice with what you have, and I wanted to do the best, but it didn't work."

Cameroon are likely to be far more positive in their second match against the Danes on June 19, knowing that they need a win to get their hopes of a second place in the group back on track.

"We have to win against Denmark, we know that, we will try to recover well to do our best," Le Guen said.

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