GROUP A
Cameroon

THE 60-SECOND OVERVIEW

Drawn in a tough group against teams with excellent tournament pedigree, and after a fairly uninspiring qualifying campaign (they probably wouldn’t have made it had Togo not fielded an ineligible player), The Indomitable Lions haven't provoked a massive amount of expectation this time around.

They have a decent defence but struggle to score goals. Not getting out of the group would not therefore be considered a national disaster – especially considering Brazil, Croatia and Mexico are on the agenda – so while they won’t admit it, giving a respectful account of themselves and building for the future will be the priority this time around. Anything after that is a bonus, frankly.

THE DREAM

Find some creativity and harness the power of low expectations in Brazil. Sneaking out the group would be a huge result – and beating the hosts on their own turf would be the stuff of World Cup legend. The side’s defence is an undoubtedly strong base, so should Samuel Eto’o and the rest of the attack find some form, they could hold on and get results.

German boss Volker Finke has got them playing a patient possession game, and if it clicks, Cameroon could go some way to restoring their reputation as an African football power to be reckoned with.

THE NIGHTMARE

Trailing home goalless and pointless. Terrible showings at recent tournaments suggest this is a possibility. A heavy loss in the first game could see morale go into freefall; with Brazil to follow, humiliation is entirely possible. And with a reputation for having a somewhat fractious dressing room, one bad game could snowball into a terrible tournament and a squad implosion. Finke’s level head will be crucial in ensuring this is avoided.

THE STATS
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PLAYER MOST LIKELY TO...

COME UP WITH A BARMY THEORY: SAMUEL ETO'O

Talking after the play-off first leg against Tunisia, Eto’o claimed there was a “conspiracy” to not pass to him, meaning he spent the whole game chasing the ball around the pitch like a frustrated hound.

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ANNOUNCE HIMSELF TO THE WORLD: VINCENT ABOUBAKAR

After excelling with French side Lorient this season, striker Aboubakar could make a name (and big-league transfer) for himself this summer. Starting up front alongside Eto’o, the 22-year-old may profit from defenders concentrating on his illustrious partner.

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INSPIRE AN EMOTIONAL WIN: MARC-VIVIEN FOE

The midfielder’s tragic on-pitch death still resonates in the Cameroon dressing room; they even have lined up for their anthem with a portrait of their compatriot. Just over a decade on, expect tributes and inspiration: the 11th anniversary is three days after the Brazil game.

DID YOU KNOW?

Goalkeeper Charles Itandje, a Liverpool reject whose domestic career has descended into obscurity, was one of Cameroon’s best performers in qualifying.

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A tough group and poor qualifying campaign have tempered expectation, but a strong defence and that man Eto'o give some hope.