Only a coupon-busting victory over Brazil will re-ignite Cameroon’s knockout qualification dreams at the Lusail Iconic Stadium this evening, though the odds are stacked firmly against The Indomitable Lions.
World Cup favourites Brazil are sitting pretty at the summit of Group H thanks to a perfect bounty of six wins from six, and with fresh legs and ideas injected into their XI today, Tite’s Seleção should be a force to be reckoned with again.
As per the usual routine, you can sink your teeth into my stats pack for the game below which is filled floor to ceiling with info on corners, cards, shots, shots on target, xG and more from the teams’ qualifiers and World Cup group matches. Use the statistics below in conjunction with my Stats Pack Guide to boost the potency of your bet builders.
Cameroon’s first-choice keeper Andre Onana was sent home for disciplinary reasons after a fall out with Head Coach Rigoberg Song and Devis Epassy should deputise again to win his seventh cap today.
Vincent Aboubakar notched a goal and an assist in quick-fire time when he came off the bench against Serbia on matchday two and the 30-year-old seems certain to start this evening.
Alex Sandro was forced off with a hip injury against Switzerland and should be replaced at left-back by Alex Telles today. An ankle complaint could also rule out Danilo on the opposite side of the Brazilian defence.
Neymar is still sidelined with an ankle injury of his own while Antony and Gabriel Jesus will be among those pushing to start against Cameroon with Brazil’s place in the next round already secured
Pretty much a fully rotated side for Brazil.
Cameroon’s football had a keen attacking edge during their run to qualification, where they posted an xG of 2.08 and 14.57 shots per 90 minutes in Africa, though their thrust abandoned them on matchday one when they were beaten 1-0 by Switzerland.
The Indomitable Lions played with more zest in the final third against Serbia (3-3) on matchday two, though their xG against was a lofty 2.30 versus the Balkan side and 1.92 against the Swiss. If they concede a similar figure against Brazil, it will surely be curtains.
Cameroon’s group games have also averaged a meaty 3.5 cards and 11.5 corners per contest, which could offer two more angles of attack for your bet builder.
Beneath two relatively modest scorelines in Qatar (2-0 vs Serbia, 1-0 vs Switzerland), Brazil have been building a strong statistical infrastructure. Only Germany (18.5) have clocked more shots per game than the Brazilians (18) and only South American rivals Argentina have allowed fewer efforts against them at the opposite end (3.7 to 5.5).
Brazil’s football in the final third has been dazzling at times, though they have also been quick to snuff out danger in defensive areas, and Serbia and Switzerland managed a combined xG of just 0.64 against them.
Brazil have also drawn four cards and 29 fouls from their opponents so far, so watch out for some hefty challenges aimed in their direction later on.
Player Shots and Shots on Target
Karl Toko Ekambi, Vincent Aboubakar and Pierre Kunde were Cameroon’s metric leaders for shots per 90 during the team’s qualification surge, and the latter two have been making waves in Qatar, albeit with limited game time so far (Aboubakar – 5.09 shots p/90, Kunde 5.45 shots p/90).
Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting has been hitting a more modest 1.66 attempts per 90 minutes at the World Cup, though he did start each of Cameroon’s first two group matches. First-choice centre-half, Nicolas Nkoulou (1.50), has been a threat in the box from set plays and the 32-year-old could be a handful from dead balls again this evening.
Brazilian talisman Neymar pummelled opponent’s goals with efforts during the Seleção’s qualification run in South America and the 30-year-old racked up four attempts on matchday one against Serbia before his injury.
In Neymar’s absence, Arsenal’s Jesus and Martinelli – would generally be the ones to watch.
Although, Antony and Rodrygo, who’ve clocked six attempts between them in 86 minutes of World Cup football combined, should be on your radar.
Player Goals and Assists
Vincent Aboubakar was Cameroon’s leading marksman in qualification fixtures (eight), making his omission from the Indomitable Lions’ first two starting lineups in Qatar all the more head-scratching. The 30-year-old highlighted his value with a goal and an assist off the bench against Serbia on matchday two, however.
Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting, whose record at club level for Bayern this season (11 goals in 16 games) is staggering, grabbed the crucial leveller against the Serbians. Choupo-Moting might be short on service this evening, though he is capable of finishing half chances if they fall his way.
Brazil’s attractive approach play and attacking endeavour hasn’t been rewarded by gluts of goals just yet and only two of their company have rattled the net in Qatar.
Richarlison produced a couple of show-stopping moments against Serbia on matchday one, though Brazil needed a deflected effort from holding midfielder Casemiro to break the deadlock in game two against Switzerland.
Of the starters, only Antony makes the top 6 for Brazil although the front four are definitely no attacking slouches.
Left-back Collins Fai ranks joint-first for Cameroon for total fouls committed in Qatar (three) and the 30-year-old defender is one of three Indomitable Lions sitting on a booking.
Centre-half Nicolas Nkoulou has also been carded and both he and Fai should have a heavy defensive workload on their platters today. In midfield, Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa, who was booked twice in qualifiers, still hasn’t been cautioned at the World Cup, though his foul tally at the tournament (three) suggests his name could be taken soon. .
Flanksmen Vinicius Junior and Raphinha regularly had their wings clipped by frustrated markers during Brazil’s qualification adventure and the pair have had to endure similar treatment in Qatar where they’ve been fouled seven times combined.
With such fouls drawn from the wingers, Martinelli’s head-to-head with Cameroon’s Fai is of interest today, while Antony could come into contact with Zambo Anguissa when the latter shuffles left to double up on the Barca attacker.
Match-Ups to watch
Collins Fai vs Gabriel Martinelli
Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa vs Antony
Enzo Ebosse vs Gabriel Jesus
As unlikely as it seems, Real Madrid pair Vinicius Junior and Rodrygo are the only Brazilian players to see yellow in Qatar so far, though it makes more sense to rake through the Seleção’s defensive options for card candidates today.
Casemiro collected three cards during the World Cup qualification phase and though he avoided punishment for the three fouls he’s already committed in Qatar, he might not be so fortunate today. Central defender Marquinhos also amassed three cards in qualifiers and the 28-year-old could be drawn into a physical battle with livewire Cameroonian attacker Vincent Aboubakar today.
Alex Telles could also be an option to consider when he marks foul-magnet Bryan Mbuemo.
Vincent Aboubakar was among the most-fouled Cameroon players in the African qualification zone and fresh from his stellar contribution from the bench on matchday two, he should be full of running today. His line-breaking surges could put Marquinhos on edge.
Right-sided forward Bryan Mbuemo has been fouled an ankle-aching 3.16 times per 90 minutes in Qatar and the 23-year-old could be a real nuisance for Alex Sandro. Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa (fouled three times) could enter Casemiro’s crosshairs in midfield.
Match-Ups to watch
Bremer vs Vincent Aboubakar
Alex Telles vs Bryan Mbuemo
Fred vs Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa