In the duel that opened the Brazilian group in the World Cup in Qatar, better for Switzerland. This Thursday (24), the Swiss defeated Cameroon by 1-0 at the Al Janoub Stadium, in Al Wakrah, in Group G of the competition.
Interestingly, the winning goal in Europe came from the feet of an attacker born in the opposing country. Breel Embolo was born in Yaoundé, the Cameroonian capital, where he left at the age of five, with his mother, to live in France and, the following year, in Switzerland. The player became naturalized in 2014, the year he debuted in the professional team of Basel, a team from the Swiss city where he went to live.
— FIFA World Cup (@FIFAWorldCup) November 24, 2022
The triumph maintained the Swiss record of not losing in the first round of a Cup since 1966, in England. Since then, there are four draws and now three wins. The country was not present at the World Cups from 1970 to 1990, 1998 and 2002. The Indomitable Lions (as the Cameroon team is known), on the other hand, suffered the eighth consecutive defeat in a World Cup. The last time the Africans left the field victorious in the competition was 20 years ago, in Japan.
The Swiss have Brazil as their next opponent, on Monday (28), at 1 pm, at Estádio 974, in Doha. On the same day, but at 7am, Cameroon faces Serbia, again at Al Janoub.
Lions dominate first half
The long ball was Cameroon’s weapon to command the first half. The Indomitable Lions created the two best chances and forced the Swiss to take risks and lose patience, especially in the 15 minutes before the break. The Africans ended the initial stage with more possession (45% to 44%), after being behind most of the time in statistics.
Cameroon’s first opportunity came in the ninth minute. Bryan Mbeumo received Martin Hongla on the left, entered the area and crossed over goalkeeper Yann Sommer. On the rebound, almost at the penalty spot, striker Karl Toko Ekambi kicked first, but over the top. At 13, after another launch, striker Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting took defender Manuel Akanji in the middle and shot from the left, towards the goal, but the finish came out weak, in Sommer’s exit.
Switzerland, on the other hand, struggled to reach the last third of the field. It wasn’t until the 39th minute that Embolo invaded the area, on the left, with the finish stopped by Jean-Charles Castelletto, who deflected it across the bottom line. In the corner kick by striker Ruben Vargas, also defender Nico Elvedi headed close to the right post. It was also from above and with his head, after another shot from a corner, that Akanji was almost in stoppage time.
48′ GOOOAAAL! Breel Embolo bringt die Schweiz in Führung! / La Suisse ouvre le score par l’intermédiaire de Breel Embolo ! / Breel Embolo apre le marcature per la Svizzera!
— 🇨🇭 Nati (@nati_sfv_asf) November 24, 2022
Early goal reverses scenario
On the way back from the break, however, the game changed. All because, already in the first finalization towards the Cameroonian goal, the Swiss opened the scoring. At two minutes, defensive midfielder Remo Freuler launched Xherdan Shaqiri on the left. The midfielder crossed first and low for Embolo, free, to finish for the nets. Born in Cameroon, the number 7 did not celebrate the goal.
The change in the scoreboard made the confrontation more frank. At 11 minutes, Choupo-Moting escaped from Akanji on the right and finished close to the bottom line, inside the area, stopping at Sommer. At 20, it was Cameroonian goalkeeper Andre Onana’s turn to work. In a move similar to the first goal, full-back Silvan Widmer crossed from the right and Vargas arrived hitting the area, for a good defense of the shirt number 23 of the Indomitable Lions.
The scenario was reversed in relation to the first stage. If Cameroon had to resort to the patience of exchanging passes, Switzerland bet on the balls thrown at the back of the defense and were closer to the second goal than the Africans of the draw. At 36 minutes, midfielder Fabian Rieder received on the left and crossed low. Defender Nicolas N’Koulou anticipated Onana to cut and almost scored against. At 43 minutes, midfielder Granit Xhaka dropped the bomb from the entrance to the area and stopped at the Cameroonian goalkeeper. In injury time, striker Haris Seferovic still had one last opportunity, but the shot close to the penalty mark exploded in Castelletto.