After their game against Mexico, not a lot was expected of Cameroon but at 1-0 down they put up a really good fight. The likes of Vincent Aboubakar caused Croatia problems and they looked the most likely to score an equaliser. Then Alexander Song viciously struck Mario Mandzukic with an elbow and Cameroon’s hope of securing a result vanished. It was an off the ball altercation but in plain sight of the referee and an incident that ended Cameroon’s World Cup. Even a point would have given them a slim chance of qualifying, but they are now destined to finish bottom of Group A with Brazil up next. Add to Song’s moment Benoit Assou-Ekotto’s attempt to head-butt his own team-mate late on, it was an embarrassing way to go out for Cameroon.
After two matches it is still very difficult to work out how good this Croatia side are. The likes of Ivan Rakitic and Luka Modric are undoubtedly talented, and Ivica Olic and Mario Mandzukic are a strong forward partnership. But until the red card, they failed to really impress. Against Brazil, many felt Croatia were unfortunate to lost after a soft penalty given against them and they did impress early on before fading. Against Cameroon, it is easy to argue they were the worse team until Song’s sending off, so their quality as a side is still very much up for debate.
What this result does do is set up a tasty final day in Group A. Brazil take on Cameroon hoping to secure top spot but the real action will come in the clash between Mexico and Croatia. With Mexico on four points and Croatia on three, a draw for the Central Americans win sends them through, whilst a Croatia win will secure qualification. After watching the sides so far, it is anyone’s guess who will progress. Both have shown qualities and shortcomings in equal measure, with Mexico looking defensively naïve at times and Croatia failing to dominate a weak Cameroon for long periods of the first half. Both sides have some good players and we could be in for an exciting affair next week.
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