Cameroon-born forward Breel Embolo was Switzerland's match-winner, however Indomitable Lions had the better of the first half but it was ultimately an eighth successive World Cup finals loss for Rigobert Song's team
Embolo's close-range finish proved the difference, and while his celebration was understandably muted, he was mobbed by his ecstatic team-mates for scoring what could be a vital goal for Switzerland with tough tests against Brazil and Serbia to come.
Cameroon had the better of the first half but it was ultimately an eighth successive World Cup finals loss for Rigobert Song's team.
They now face an uphill struggle to reach the knockout phase, with this team looking a pale imitation of the brutal but brilliant side which broke new ground for Africa as quarter-finalists at Italia 90.
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 will be 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.
Song also included teenage goalkeeper Simon Ngapandouetnbu, who is on the books of Marseille but yet to play a senior match. He is the only uncapped player in the squad.
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.
Inter Milan goalkeeper Andre Onana will be hard to get past too and he was the top-rated Cameroon player from their opening game defeat to Switzerland, though he only rated a measly 4.8.
What are Cameroon's results and fixtures?
November 24: Switzerland 1 Cameroon 0
November 28: Cameroon vs Serbia
December 2: Cameroon vs Brazil
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.
Argentina | Australia | Belgium | Brazil | Cameroon | Canada | Costa Rica | Croatia | Denmark | Ecuador | England | France | Germany | Ghana | Iran | Japan | Mexico | Morocco | Netherlands | Poland | Portugal | Qatar | Saudi Arabia | Senegal | Serbia | South Korea | Spain | Switzerland | Tunisia | Uruguay | USA | Wales
Cameroon are currently a best price of 650/1 to win the World Cup.