Doha: Breel Embolo scored the only goal to lift Switzerland past his country of birth Cameroon in their World Cup Group G opening match here late on Thursday. Embolo, who moved to Europe with his mother as a boy, scored in the 47th minute after receiving a low cross from captain Granit Xhaka.
Cameroon’s miserable run at the world’s most important tournament continued after losing their 10th consecutive World Cup match. The Indomitable Lions, who claimed a shock victory over Diego Maradona’s Argentina at the 1990 World Cup, scored only one victory in their last 15 World Cup matches.
Rigobert Song, the Cameroon coach who played at four World Cups, rued loss to the European side despite taking full control in the first half, reports Xinhua. “We were in control, we had many good opportunities, but we failed to convert them to goals. We missed the final touch. But we showed we were hungry for the goal. We have played high-quality football.”
Swiss coach Murat Yakin said their “patience” paid off in the second half because they are a mature team that has played for a very long period of time.
“I am happy with the position we have got and we need to make some changes for the next match. We have enough to do so.” Cameroon were confident at the Al Janoub Stadium, looking more likely to win the match from the start thanks to some brilliant moves upfront.
Only 10 minutes into the action, a brilliant through pass found Bryan Mbeumo on the left side. The Brentford forward raced into the box but his shot was stopped by Switzerland goalkeeper Yann Sommer. Karl Toko-Ekambi then fired the rebound over the bar from 10 metres.
Martin Hongla delivered another effort on the right but Sommer once again made a great save.
The Swiss side did not create any clear-cut chance until two minutes into the stoppage time. Manuel Akanji jumped high to head Remo Freuler’s corner wide of the left post.
Two minutes after the interval, Murat Yakin’s side took the lead the easy way. Shaqiri sent a cross from the right and Embolo had a comfortable tap-in from six meters.
The 25-year-old Embolo, who joined Monaco from Borussia Moenchengladbach in the summer, did not celebrate because he was born in Cameroon. Embolo should have doubled the lead but his shot was too high under pressure from Frank Zambo Anguissa.
Second-half substitute Haris Seferovic also wasted a chance in the last minute as his close-range shot was blocked by Jean-Charles Castelletto. Switzerland will next play against Brazil in four days while Cameroon is going to take on Serbia.