Cameroon captain Vincent Aboubakar scored a memorable late winner against Brazil and was then dismissed for whipping his shirt off in celebration – but his goal could not prevent their World Cup exit.
On what could have been an even greater night for the African side, another shock result this time did not have the desired outcome as Switzerland's win over Serbia made Cameroon's progress impossible, irrespective of the 1-0 victory at the Lusail Stadium.
For a brief period Aboubakar's superb header in the third minute of added time had Cameroon believing in the impossible and federation president Samuel Eto'o frantically checking his phone in the VIP section for news from Stadium 974.
Aboubakar was shown a second yellow card for removing his shirt and when when the whistle sounded on Cameroon's first World Cup win in 20 years they did not have long to wait to discover their fate. Their joy was dampened after learning Serbia had not forced an equaliser.
This Cameroon side were on the cusp of history, the country having only made it out of the group stages once – in Italia 90, where they lost 3-2 after extra time to England.
Cameroon World Cup 2022 squad
The coach also included two home-based players – Souaibou Marou and Jerome Ngom – who had won their first caps just hours before in a friendly against Jamaica.
The team is captained by Vincent Aboubakar, who competed as a teenager at the 2010 World Cup and again in Brazil in 2014 when Cameroon last appeared at the finals.
It will also be a third World Cup for defender Nicolas Nkoulou, 32, and Bayern Munich attacker Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting.
Nkoulou made a comeback to the team in September after a five-year absence, having retired from the side after they won the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations.
Goalkeepers: Devis Epassy (Abha Club), Simon Ngapandouetnbu (Olympique de Marseille), Andre Onana (Inter Milan)
Defenders: Jean-Charles Castelletto (Nantes), Enzo Ebosse (Udinese), Collins Fai (Al Tai), Olivier Mbaizo (Philadelphia Union), Nicolas Nkoulou (Aris Salonika), Tolo Nouhou (Seattle Sounders), Christopher Wooh (Rennes).
Midfielders: Martin Hongla (Verona), Pierre Kunde (Olympiacos), Olivier Ntcham (Swansea City), Gael Ondoua (Hannover 96), Samuel Oum Gouet (Mechelen), Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa (Napoli).
Forwards: Vincent Aboubakar (Al Nassr), Christian Bassogog (Shanghai Shenhua), Eric-Maxime Choupo Moting (Bayern Munich), Souaibou Marou (Coton Sport), Bryan Mbeumo (Brentford), Nicolas Moumi Ngamaleu (Young Boys), Jerome Ngom (Colombe Dja), Georges-Kevin Nkoudou (Besiktas), Jean-Pierre Nsame (Young Boys), Karl Toko Ekambi (Lyon).
Who is their best player?
Lyon forward Karl Toko Ekambi is one of the best performing players in the squad, and has scored 12 goals in 50 caps for his country and has a decent goalscoring record in France and previously in La Liga with Villarreal.
Other names to watch out for include captain Aboubakar, who has 88 caps and plays for Saudi Professional League club Al Nassr, Bayern Munich forward Choupo-Moting and Napoli midfielder Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa.
What are Cameroon's results and fixtures?
November 24: Switzerland 1 Cameroon 0
November 28: Cameroon 3 Serbia 3
December 2: Cameroon 1 Brazil 0
What is Cameroon's World Cup record?
Cameroon first appeared at the World Cup in 1982 and since then have competed in six editions, failing to leave the group phase in all but one of those.
Their best result came in 1990 when they reached the quarter-finals in Italy, making them the first African country to do so. They failed to qualify in 2018.
This time around, after emerging top of a second-round group which included Ivory Coast, Cameroon beat 2019 Afcon winners Algeria in a two-legged tie.
But defeats to South Korea and Uzbekistan in recent friendlies won't inspire confidence.
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