Switzerland 1 Cameroon 0
'Just because we are on different teams does not mean we are not brothers'
It can often seem an inauthentic gesture, the refusal to celebrate against opponents with whom you have a personal attachment. But when Breel Embolo looked bashfully down at the turf on scoring Switzerland’s winning goal, his motives appeared sincere. After all, he was born and raised in Cameroon, the land where his father still lives and whose World Cup ambitions he has all but derailed.
Embolo, born in Yaounde before moving with his mother to Switzerland, held his arms aloft more in apology than overwhelming joy. “I’m extremely proud of my first World Cup goal, but it feels unusual for me,” the Monaco striker reflected. “Cameroon is a part of me.”
He could be reassured that Rigobert Song, the Cameroon head coach and one-time Liverpool right-back, was not about to take umbrage at a compatriot raining on his Indomitable Lions’ parade. “We know each other, Breel is my little brother,” he said. “We often speak to each other on the phone and I wanted to congratulate him. It is fair play to do so. Just because we are on different teams, it does not mean we are not still brothers.”
The pressure on Embolo’s slender shoulders is colossal. His manager, Murat Yakin, has heralded this team as the finest Switzerland has assembled, capable of emulating or surpassing the country’s World Cup high water-mark as three-time quarter-finalists. They offered limited evidence of such pedigree here, labouring to subdue the enterprise of Cameroon, whose star forward Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting consistently sliced open their defence.
But while Xherdan Shaqiri, a born performer on the grandest stages, was kept largely quiet, Switzerland’s central midfield was marshalled expertly by Remo Freuler of Nottingham Forest and Granit Xhaka, the Arsenal captain. Xhaka, whose side next face Brazil, against whom they secured a 1-1 draw in 2018, suggested they would soon move up through the gears.
“It is not chance, when you look at the last 10 to 12 years we have been in all the main tournaments,” Xhaka said. “Brazil are the favourites for the tournament, in my view, and we have to bother them as we did in 2018. They can put out three different starting XIs. We need to be very compact and not make stupid mistakes. Our team is much more experienced than four years ago. On our day we can beat anyone.”
They had plenty in reserve to vanquish Cameroon, whose approach of propelling long balls into the corners at every opportunity was soon blunted. Song was a diagram of anguish on the touchline at how many chances his players spurned. Eventually, they were punished, Shaqiri weighting a sumptuous pass from which Embolo could scarcely miss. Lashing the ball in, he quelled, if only for a few seconds, the relentless drumbeat of the Cameroon supporters. “It’s never easy playing against the country of your birth,” said Xhaka. “I know he kept quiet about his goal, but we need him for his goals.” Embolo could almost have had a second in the late stages, thwarted only by Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa’s desperate slide.
Switzerland's goal in pictures
The ultimate tournament man
50% - Xherdan Shaqiri has been directly involved in exactly half of Switzerland’s 24 goals across their last four appearances at major tournaments (EUROS + World Cup), scoring eight goals and assisting a further four. Key. #SUICMR #FIFAWorldCup pic.twitter.com/ZmD5rb8KaW
— OptaFranz (@OptaFranz) November 24, 2022
Not with a bang, but with a whimper. A disappointing showing, in the end, from Cameroon, who played with such flare in the first half, which almost entirely ebbed away following Switzerland's goal.
Switzerland's quality shone through, and the win is an important one, but it wasn't a performance to have Swiss hearts aflutter. Strong showings from Shaqiri and Vargas, however, and there should be plenty to look forward to as their journey through the tournament continues.
Who covered themselves in glory, and who missed the mark? Share your live player ratings here:
90+6 min: Switzerland 1 Cameroon 0
Castelletto pulls off an almighty block as Seferovic breaks with the ball, flying into the box with an eye for goal, and keeps the man out. Switzerland's corner is uninspiring, and the ball falls for Onana.
The whistle blows, and seals Cameroon's ironic fate: dispatched by only one goal, scored by their compatriot!
90+4 min: Switzerland 1 Cameroon 0
Not taken at pace, shall we say, Rieder eventually floats the ball in, with little impact.
Castelletto sends a diagonal lofted pass to the left, but Switzerland challenge and win possession. Aboubakar sneaks it back, and the ball is thumped high into the box. There's a glimmer of optimism, but Sommer leaps to catch the ball before Cameroon can have another sniff.
90+2 min: Switzerland 1 Cameroon 0
Switzerland are in no rush whatsoever, Elvedi passing back to Sommer before the ball is fed up the pitch for what looks like a half-hearted attack. They hold possession at the backline now, but there's a break as a long, high ball is chipped over Cameroonian heads and sent for a running Swiss player.
Nouhou keeps close, running off the pitch and tumbling, for a Swiss corner.
90 min: Switzerland 1 Cameroon 0
Cameroon give the ball cheaply to Switzerland, and as they move up the pitch, Ondoua tumbles Rieder. Yakin makes a final change for Switzerland, Comert on for Rodriguez.
Only the six minutes of added time.
89 min: Switzerland 1 Cameroon 0
Xhaka slips away from his defenders picking up a crossed pass on the edge of the box and sliding the ball towards goal, but Onana dives to make the save.
Fai sends another cross into the box, looking for Aboubakar this time, but Switzerland head the ball off easily.
87 min: Switzerland 1 Cameroon 0
Ngamaleu scrapping for the ball gives away a free kick, which Sommer comes out to take, but as Switzerland look to flood forward, Onana runs out to bundle up the ball.
Castelletto chips the ball to Fai, who goes looking for bodies in the box, but there are scant green and yellow shirts. Cameroon are looking unraveled now, and would have to spring something magic in the chunk of extra time we're sure to be handed.
85 min: Switzerland 1 Cameroon 0
Aboubakar pulls down a header on the edge of Switzerland's box, as Cameroon cling to gained territory, but before long, the ball flies out of play and Sommer has the goal kick.
83 min: Switzerland 1 Cameroon 0
Reider sprints down the left, immediately sparking for Switzerland, and forcing Nkoulou into a panicked block. Reider has the corner, too, and as Cameroon defend wildly, Switzerland call for handball, after the ball falls on Aboubakar.
In the fracas, Akanji pulls down Anguissa and receives a yellow card for his troubles. No handball, and play is waved on.
81 min: Switzerland 1 Cameroon 0
Fai sends in a promising ball which curves into the box from the right, and badly needs a striker to get on the end of it. Instead, it spills out of play.
A change for both teams: Vargas off for Switzerland to be replaced by Reider, and Mbeumo comes off for Cameroon, replaced by Dinamo Moscow's Ngamaleu.
79 min: Switzerland 1 Cameroon 0
Switzerland are running the show now, looking composed as Cameroon experience withering under the floodlights. They win a free kick in their half, but Switzerland steal the ball back quickly.
Xhaka on the left has the ball whipped off him, to roars from the Cameroon fans in the ground.
76 min: Switzerland 1 Cameroon 0
Mbeumo takes the corner, Aboubakar hungry for the scraps, but the ball flies out of the box, some way back, for Cameroon to work in again. The ball falls back to Onana, lurking high up, but his pass doesn't find the intended target, ball falling for a Swiss throw in.
Nkoudou immediately asserts himself, firing into the box, before he has his pocket picked. As Switzerland play up, Widmer goes down clutching his eye after he tumbled Nkoudou. Play is waved on, thank goodness.
74 min: Switzerland 1 Cameroon 0
Onana plays to Ekambi, as Cameroon sneak up the pitch. Elvedi goes down in the Cameroon box, arguing for a foul, but the plea falls on deaf ears as Cameroon set up for a corner.
First, some changes: Choupo-Moting off, passing the armband to Aboubakar, and Ekambi too, who exits for Nkoudou.
72 min: Switzerland 1 Cameroon 0
Shaqiri looks for the back post, but his touch is too heavy.
Three changes now for Switzerland: Sow, Shaqiri, and Embolo off for Seferovic, Okafor, and Frei.
70 min: Switzerland 1 Cameroon 0
Onana strays far from his goal to send a questing ball deep into the Switzerland half. Mbeumo holds on the right, before losing the ball messily. Shaqiri is set up on the right, sneaking to Widmer, who fires into the box. He's blocked closely, and there's another Swiss corner to defend.
68 min: Switzerland 1 Cameroon 0
With the final corner, Cameroon defend scrappily, but make do. A relief not to be behind by two after the last three minutes, all told.
Cameroon makes an initial substitute, Hongla off for Ondoua.
66 min: Switzerland 1 Cameroon 0
Mbeumo has the free kick, from some way out, but the ball floats well for Anguissa, who gets a good head to it, but Sommer can make the catch with ease.
On the Swiss counter, Vargas positions himself well to collect an excellent-timed cross, and Onana pulls off a heroic save to keep Switzerland from claiming another.
Shaqiri's corner swings in for Embolo, but Anguissa's toe pokes the ball over the cross bar in another strong piece of skill.
64 min: Switzerland 1 Cameroon 0
Elvedi picks up a yellow card seeing off an advance from Choup-Moting, which was probably a fair sacrifice.
62 min: Switzerland 1 Cameroon 0
Cameroon survive a Swiss onslaught, and flip play into the Swiss half, but Hongla is isolated after picking up from Choupo-Moting, and struggles for air.
Vargas picks up the ball on the edge of Cameroon's box, and cutting through on the left, sends in a cross under siege. Cameroon's defending wins Switzerland a corner, which Vargas takes, but Cameroon clear well.
60 min: Switzerland 1 Cameroon 0
Cameroon edge forward, Ekambi waiting in the box for a long ball, but he's smothered by defenders, and the attack is extinguished.
Choupo-Moting swipes the ball from Akanji, but when the ball is sent in, Switzerland make a timely inteception, and Shaqiri sets off promisingly down the right.
58 min: Switzerland 1 Cameroon 0
Choupo-Moting slides down the right, looking for a route into the box, and fires at the near post under pressure. Sommer leaps down to make the block, sending the ball out for a corner.
Sommer punches the effort out, and Switzerland prepare to counter, Xhaka and Vargas teaming up to set up a running Embolo. Nearing the box, however, peach-like placement only yields an sloppy attempt, which loops over the cross bar.
Switzerland's goal, made in Cameroon
— ITV Football (@itvfootball) November 24, 2022
55 min: Switzerland 1 Cameroon 0
Shaqiri on the run through the middle hunts for Vargas, but Cameroon regroup to keep Switzerland out. Cameroon are looking ragged of late, as Switzerland grow in confidence and threat.
Xhaka picks up the ball in the midfield, feeing Akanji on the right. Nouhou pushes the ball out for a throw-in, Switzerland enjoying their longest spell of possession in some time.
Oliver Brown is in the Al Janoub stadium
There are some decidedly sparse areas of seats at Al-Janoub Stadium, which even Gianni Infantino, here to present an award to Cameroon icon Roger Milla, might struggle to spin. When the Fifa president's name was announced with much fanfare, it was greeted with silence by Switzerland and Cameroon fans. For all their passion for their teams, they see through some of the absurdities of this World Cup. For example, the fact that the ground's floodlights are all on at 2pm in blazing desert sunshine begs questions of this supposedly "carbon-neutral" tournament.
52 min: Switzerland 1 Cameroon 0
Vargas looks for another profitable run through the left, but as Switzerland play the ball through, Xhaka goes down after a knock with Mbeumo, crying for a foul.
Embolo runs into the box to pick up a long, high ball, but Onana reacts quickly to claim the floating ball.
50 min: Switzerland 1 Cameroon 0
Play flies into the Swiss half, Mbeumo floating in a dangerous ball that Switzerland scramble to muddle out. Cameroon can only gain a throw in, however.
48 min: GOAL!!! Switzerland 1 Cameroon 0
Vargas collects the ball on the left level with the box, looking for a way in. The ball glances of Mbeumo for a Switzerland throw.
Freuler sends the ball through the middle, playing out to Shaqiri on the right who sends a splintering cross to a waiting Embolo in the centre of the box.
Then, bang! Embolo can't miss, and doesn't. His celebrations are muted, a testament to his Cameroonian heritage.
45 min: Switzerland 0 Cameroon 0
No change for either side, but I wouldn't be surprised if Cameroon unleashed high-scoring Aboubakar, surprisingly on the bench for the Indomitable Lions thus far.
We're back underway, with Cameroon kicking us off at the Al Janoub stadium.
Another match for the defenders, then, which might be a surprising turn of events for Switzerland. Too often have Cameroon set up promising chances, sometimes conjured from very little indeed.
Half-time might have come at the right time for the Swiss, as Cameroon have been growing stronger and stronger in this game. Yakin's players have the opportunity now to come out and startle them.
Half-time player ratings
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45+2 min: Switzerland 0 Cameroon 0
Another strong opportunity for Switzerland, after Akanji leaps for the header. It doesn't strike him cleanly, and dodges right past the goal.
Choupo-Moting picks up the ball off a long ball from Anguissa, who later wins a free kick after being tagged by Sow and Freuler. This distance is tempting... similar to their first, left and around 35 yards up. Sommer deals with the effort well, and the whistle blows.
All square at half-time!
45 min: Switzerland 0 Cameroon 0
Anguissa breezes forward, playing higher up now to capitalise on Cameroonian confidence.
But Cameroon lose the ball now, and have to scramble in the area as Embolo attempts a shot which is whipped back for a corner.
Two minutes added time. Feels strange, now.
44 min: Switzerland 0 Cameroon 0
Shaqiri loses the ball for Cameroon to play back to Onana. Switzerland haven't worked out Cameroon yet, it's fair to say, as once again they sneak over the line in another spell with the ball.
42 min: Switzerland 0 Cameroon 0
Cameroon win a corner after some blinkered play from Switzerland, which saw the defence accidentally play the ball to Choupo-Moting. His attempt on goal springs off Elvedi.
Embolo makes the clearance, but not nearly far enough away. Hongla sneaks forward, dogged by defenders, and when the ball is finally delivered into the box after an extended spell of pressure, Sommer springs out to make the catch.
40 min: Switzerland 0 Cameroon 0
Castelletto tries to play the ball up but is stymied by Embolo, who sprints past him with the ball. Castelletto runs desperately and catches his man, bringing the ball back and the man down. Switzerland win the corner, and Elvedi gets to it well, but Switzerland's strongest chance glances past the left post.
38 min: Switzerland 0 Cameroon 0
Cameroon are taking up a lot of time and space in Switzerland's half, but track back now as they plan their next run.
Nouhou accepts a high ball on the left, but is matched closely, and the ball spills back for Castelletto to launch forward. Mbeumo going for the ball is tumbled, and Switzerland profit from the lack of intervention to trip forward.
36 min: Switzerland 0 Cameroon 0
Fai sprints after a long ball in a foot race with Elvedi, and topping the defender who reaches the ball first, picks up the first yellow card of the match.
34 min: Switzerland 0 Cameroon 0
Cameroon again break on the right, this time Fai laying off to Ekambi who goes to shoot but is tumbled cleanly by Widmer. Cameroon have had the lion's share of the good chances this morning.
32 min: Switzerland 0 Cameroon 0
Gwet plays expansively up the field, with Nouhou picking up the left in the Switzerland half. Anguissa helps usher play forward, Cameroon on top in these past few passages of play.
Edging closer and closer to the penalty area, Cameroon work their way to the box calmly before Castelletto sends in a diagonal ball for Mbeumo in the box. Leaping Swiss heads intercept it, and set up for a counter.
Vargas' cross sprints across Onana's goal mouth, but Cameroon lock up and defend well at pace.
30 min: Switzerland 0 Cameroon 0
Fai drops Vargas, and immediately begins protesting his innocence. The referee ignores this, but Switzerland's recapturing of momentum comes to very little, the ball falling back to Cameroon, and Fai setting up down the right.
Mbeumo links up with Choupo-Moting, and go for a shot on goal which is badly angled, but shocks Sommer into a skittering save. Corner for Cameroon, which isn't dealt with cleanly, but Switzerland eventually bundle the ball away from danger.
28 min: Switzerland 0 Cameroon 0
The atmosphere at the Al Janoub has been excellent, and in stark contrast to yesterday's mostly library-like Germany versus Japan match-up. To the unending beat of the drum, Cameroon push Switzerland back to the halfway line for a throw, and profit from it too, recapturing possession.
26 min: Switzerland 0 Cameroon 0
Cameroon are looking more confident now, and Mbeumo seems his feisty best chasing down a long ball back to Sommer.
Vargas has the ball swiped by Ekambi, who sets up Choupo-Moting on the run, and Cameroon again look dangerous. In the end, Fai squanders the attack with a long range shot which misses by a good margin.
24 min: Switzerland 0 Cameroon 0
Ekambi picks up a fantastic cross in the midfield and spirits for the ball towards Mbeumo on the run. Cameroon flood forward, playing with patience, and an opportune shot is hovered over, not taken quickly enough.
Switzerland muddle the ball out for a corner, which Mbuemo takes, looking for Castelletto at the back post. They float the ball box into the box, but Switzerland scoop up possession.
21 min: Switzerland 0 Cameroon 0
Mbeumo is overturned in the midfield, and Cameroon have an opportunity to sneak over the halfway line. Choupo-Moting attempts to get on the end of a long ball on the edge of the box, but he's marked closely.
A moment of messiness for Switzerland, as the ball is crossed in front of their box, and flies loose, but Cameroon are too late in pursuit of it: crisis averted.
19 min: Switzerland 0 Cameroon 0
Rodriguez considers the left wing, before setting up Embolo, carrying on to the right. Cameroon set up well, and Xhaka under pressure is forced to send the ball out of play for Onana to gather up.
17 min: Switzerland 0 Cameroon 0
Shaqiri drifts in a Switzerland corner which finds no target but a Cameroonian.
Ekambi carries the ball through midfield, looking for Choupo-Moting in the centre, but the lofted pass is snaffled by Switzerland. Anguissa grapples to win the ball back as Switzerland look for a way through the left, forcing a reset to their backline.
15 min: Switzerland 0 Cameroon 0
Choupo-Moting picks up a glancing ball off a Switzerland player, and goes streaking towards goal. Akanji hurtles into action to put Choupo-Moting off the scent and his eventual shot is saved with ease by a squatting Sommer.
It's that same route in from the left where Switzerland have been twice surprised.
13 min: Switzerland 0 Cameroon 0
Castelletto springs into action to keep Switzerland out of the area, the ball falling awkwardly back to the Swiss side. It skitters out to Xhaka, who fields the reassuringly predictable long-range effort, far off the target.
Embolo plays a well-squared cross to no one in particular in the box, but Cameroon can't clear the ball further than Vargas, who sneaks into the box and is tumbled. The flag goes up, however. No drama yet.
11 min: Switzerland 0 Cameroon 0
Early chance for Cameroon! Switzerland can't get too comfortable, as Mbemo gets to break after a jinking ball at high speed. He goes to pull off a cross into the box, but the effort is blocked by Swiss interference.
When the ball springs out, there's a chance for the ball to sneak in on the rebound, but the effort clears the cross bar.
More adjustment needed, perhaps.
9 min: Switzerland 0 Cameroon 0
Castelletto thumps the ball up-field to escape buzzing Swiss pressure, but before long, the ball flies back to that right flank, Nouhou working hard to bundle it out. Switzerland win the throw, and attempt a run on the left. Vargas looks for Sow in the box, but Cameroon put in a conscientious block.
A sense that Switzerland are easing themselves in, getting comfortable, and adjusting to Cameroon's well-drilled defence.
7 min: Switzerland 0 Cameroon 0
Cameroon enjoy their first sojourn in Switzerland's half, and draw a free kick from about 35 yards out to the left of the box. Mbeumo takes, looking for a running Choupo-Moting, but Switzerland smother the ball with ease.
5 min: Switzerland 0 Cameroon 0
Shaqiri picks up from Embolo on the right, as Switzerland gain territory in Cameroon's half. Nouhou slides to intercept a pass to Shaqiri, but Cameroon can't keep hold of the ball for any particular spell.
When Shaqiri goes hunting for the next, Nouhou is there again, clinging to him as Switzerland look for a breakthrough on the right.
As Embolo looks for an early strike, Castelletto neatly ushers the ball back to Onana.
3 min: Switzerland 0 Cameroon 0
Embolo looks for a route through the centre of the Cameroon half, but as he turns, he's unsupported, and the ball falls back to Onana. Embolo buzzes around him, but the ball is dispatched up the field.
Switzerland have the earliest possession, as they edge forward from the off.
1 min: Switzerland 0 Cameroon 0
This is the first time the two teams have met so, unburdened by history, let's see how this clash turns out.
Switzerland are first off the mark, streaking down the right before Nouhou muscles the ball out for a corner. Shaqiri takes it, which is quickly, if fumblingly, dealt with by the Cameroon defence.
We're underway at the Al Janoub stadium – make sure to follow along with your live player ratings too: who will sparkle, and who falls flat?
Here come the players
Streaming out of the tunnel to gather by the vast tarpaulin-like flags held perfectly taut by Fifa attendants for the anthems.
First up, the Swiss national anthem, which most, but not all, join in with. Granit Xhaka stands appropriately stern and statuesque rather than belting it out.
Cameroon's is sung with much more vim, adding weight to the superiority of Francophonic national anthems.
Moments to go!
In front of the roaring Al Janoub crowd
Roger Milla accepts a certificate from Gianni Infantino in recognition of his distinction as the olderst-ever World Cup goalscorer. He was 42 when he found the net for the final time in the tournament, in 1994.
The Swiss star man
Tariq Lamptey is the latest prodigy to quit England – and he will not be the last
New eligibility rules, introduced by Fifa in 2020, mean that the number of players representing countries different to those of their birth could well rise further. In 2020, Fifa changed the player eligibility rules allowing players who have played three or fewer games – even if they were competitive matches – to switch country, as long as those appearances came before turning 21.
The change meant that Munir El Haddadi was able to play for Morocco; before, his 13 minutes for Spain in 2014 barred him from representing the country of his parents. The most obvious impact of the new rules could be to benefit smaller nations, who could now be better able to enlist diaspora players who briefly represented a bigger footballing nation before being discarded.
Tim Wigmore reports on the growing trend for switching national allegiances, from a World Cup where one in six players selected in the squads were born in a different country to the one that they are representing.
Cameroon's Bryan Mbeumo is one such case: he was capped for France at under-21 level, but declared for the Indomitable Lions this summer.
Who banks the points today?
Make your predictions here. I'll take one more upset – 3-2 Cameroon, anyone?
Warm-up time for Switzerland and Cameroon
Talk about famous upsets
No conversation about Cameroon's World Cup prospects can pass by without mentioning 1990. Cameroon opened their campaign with a 1-0 victory over Maradona-led Argentina, survived a thorny group despite a 4-0 loss to the Soviet Union, and triumphed over Colombia in extra time to set up their quarter-final clash with England.
England came away the victors, thanks to Gary Lineker's second penalty, but after failing to qualify for the previous World Cup, Cameroon's run looked all the more heroic.
The competition also gifted the world Roger Milla's entirely joyous goal celebration.
Apologies to the Switzerland fans but – there's no comparison
One extremely high profile Cameroon supporter
With an Azzuri-shaped hole in the competition this year, the legendary Italian goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon has sought a new outlet for his support.
Buffon told Radio Anch'io Sport that he had long revered Cameroon as his "second team" after they captured his heart at Italia 90, where they delivered a legendary blow to Argentina and reached the quarter-finals before being knocked out by England in their highest-ever World Cup finish.
Thomas N'Kono, the squad's goalkeeper, is one of Buffon's sporting heroes.
Gianluigi Buffon said he was inspired to become a Goalkeeper, after watching then Cameroon Goalkeeper, Thomas N'Kono play at the 1990 FIFA World Cup.
He was 12 then.
Cameroon was his second favourite team at the tournament.
He named his son, Louis Thomas after Thomas N'Kono. pic.twitter.com/UYmIGNLdlr
— Africa Facts Zone (@AfricaFactsZone) August 11, 2021
Switzerland: Yann Sommer (GK), Silvan Widmer, Manuel Akanji, Nico Elvedi, Ricardo Rodriguez, Remo Freuler, Granit Xhaka (c), Xherdan Shaqiri, Djibril Sow, Ruben Vargas, Breel Embolo
Substitutes: Kohn, Omlin, Kobel, Comert, Schar, Fassnacht, Fernandes, Rieder, Frie, Zakaria, Aesbischer, Jashari, Okafor, Seferovic
Cameroon: Andre Onana (c), Nouhou Tolo, Nicolas N'Koulou, Jean-Charles Castelletto, Collins Fai, Samuel Oum Gouet, Martin Hongla, Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa, Karl Toko Ekambi, Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting (c), Bryan Mbeumo
Substitutes: Ngapandoetnbu, Epassy, Wooh, Mbaizo, Ebosse, Moumi Ngamaleu, Kunde, Mbekeli, N'Koudou, Ondoua, Ntcham, Bassogog, Nsame, Marou, Aboubakar
A turbulent tournament build-up, to say the least
Cameroon have had a rockier road off the pitch than on in their run-up to Qatar 2022 -- even taking September's friendly losses to South Korea and Uzbekistan into consideration.
A cursed sport
Another day, another allegation of witchcraft stalking international football players. Radio France International alleged that the Cameroonian football federation, FECAFOOT, led by national icon Samuel Eto'o, had sent players to black magicians, harnessing the power of witchcraft to both overturn their opponents and cement their place in Song's 26-man squad.
Eto'o, for his part, has called the allegations entirely ludicrous, saying that the comments "represent an insult to all these generations of players who have won competitions thanks to their efforts in clubs and within selections".
He also called the idea of staging animal sacrifice in stadiums "totally ridiculous".
Cameroon came dangerously close to expulsion from this year's tournament after becoming embroiled in a dispute with former kit supplier Le Coq Sportif. FECAFOOT severed their partnership with the storied French brand over the summer, plumping to work with One All Sports, whose kit they will run out in today, due to favourable contract terms.
But Le Coq Sportif claimed breach of contract, and after discussions with FECAFOOT collapsed, brought the football federation to court in Paris, winning the subsquent ruling.
Despite this, Cameroon have stuck with their new technical supplier in Qatar, and Fifa have duly recognised their updated kit sponsor. Le Coq Sportif has agreed to pause on further action in an effort not to derail Cameroon's progression at the World Cup.
One TEAM ,ONE GOAL …Indomitables ! pic.twitter.com/opXWDGHJBT
— Les Lions Indomptables Officiel (@LIndomptables) November 5, 2022
Le Coq Sportif have started to sell the unworn kit – the niche World Cup ephemera you never knew you needed.
How far can this Switzerland side go?
Good morning, and welcome to Telegraph Sport's live coverage of today's first Group G clash between Switzerland and Cameroon, with kick-off at the Al Janoub stadium coming at 10am UK time.
There will be a touch of the uncanny as Switzerland return to the world stage after being drawn into a group which looks eerily similar to theirs in Russia 2018: Serbia and Brazil are the two sides they will meet again in Qatar, and only Cameroon the fresh opponents. Their run in Russia ended in the Round of 16, and this time, head coach Murat Yatkin has his Swiss side focused on far greater achievements, as he called his squad "the best Swiss national team that has ever existed".
"We have improved a lot, and now we want to write history.
"We are not only here to participate. We are here to win, and we want to get to the next round."
Switzerland have missed on matching their best-ever finish, reaching the quarter-finals, since 1954, and go into the tournament buoyed up by a successful Euros campaign in 2021 which saw them knock out favourites, and World Cup champions, France.
Despite losing their warm-up friendly against Ghana 2-0, only the spectre of upsets, which have loomed large in this tournament so far, could make facing Cameroon a nervy prospect.
Ranked just inside the world top 50, Cameroon sit 28 points below their opponents, and may yet lose team standout Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa, a lynchpin in this season's ascendant Napoli side, to injury. But led by nation team legend and record cap-holder Rigoberto Song, the Indomitable Lions are counting on fatal underestimation to deliver the death blow against Switzerland.
The head coach warned that "rankings go out the window when you are on a football pitch", and this has been true nowhere else more than this World Cup – ask Lionel Messi.
Will we be treated to another upset? A drubbing? Or an altogether more cagey nil-nil draw? Stay tuned as we bring you team news, build-up, full match coverage and reaction.