The top African nation in FIFA’s rankings, Cameroon will attempt to at least equal their ferocious performance in 1990, when they clawed their way into the quarterfinals of the World Cup in Italy.
Team: The Indomitable Lions
Colors: Green, red and yellow
Formation: 4-4-2 or 4-5-1
The team from this soccer-crazed African nation has qualified for six of the last eight World Cups. Yet despite its past glories, Cameroon has recently struggled on the pitch.
The Indomitable Lions scored only 15 goals in their prior 17 World Cup games. For them to advance out of the group stage, they need to focus on producing more offense with their superstar strikers and on keeping the ball out of their defensive zone.
If South Africa is shown an early exit from Group A (very likely), Cameroon will become the next best team for host country fans to root for.
Key Players: Carlos Kameni, Stephane Mbia and Samuel Eto’o
Goalkeeper Kameni must be in good form and prevent the ball from crossing the line if the Lions are to have a successful run in the tournament. That’s easier said than done, especially against the Dutch and Danish teams, two goal-hungry clubs.
Mbia will run the midfield with his strong defensive play. He’ll look to slow the game down and open up passing lanes to help unleash his team’s most dangerous weapon, striker Samuel Eto’o.
For the past couple of years, Eto’o has been tearing it up on the pitch for FC Barcelona and Inter Milan. He should be ready to bring his best game to the world stage. His creativity and speed make him a threat against any defense, and he’ll pounce on any loose ball inside the box.
Key Matchup: Cameroon vs. Netherlands
To compete against the best teams in the world, the Lions must first get past the Netherlands. Both teams have superstar strikers and weak points in their defense, but you can expect goals galore from the Dutch in this matchup.
The battle for advancement to the knockout round will be between the Indomitable Lions and the Danish Dynamite. My guess: Cameroon squeaks by with help from Eto’o.
Related link: World Cup 2010 Countdown