“Things have changed. We are pleased that all the mistakes in the past have not been repeated,” Cameroon coach Rigobert Song, the nation’s most capped player, said Wednesday.
In that recent period the Indomitable Lions have scored fewer goals collectively as a team on soccer’s biggest stage than a single Swiss player, Xherdan Shaqiri.
The score is 4-3 in Shaqiri’s favor since 2010 when he made his World Cup debut as a teenager. Now 31 and playing in MLS with Chicago Fire, Shaqiri returns again as playmaker equaling a Swiss record at his fourth edition of the tournament.
Goals will more likely come this time from Cameroon-born Breel Embolo, the in-form Monaco forward, who left the country 20 years ago.
“Since the draw (in April), it is like the 10,000th time I get this question,” the 25-year-old Embolo said this week about facing Cameroon. “It’s a special game for me and my family. But it’s not the most important, the most important is that it’s a World Cup game.”
At age 33, Cameroon’s star forward Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting arrives at his third edition in prolific form at Bayern Munich and looking for his first career World Cup goal.
Choupo-Moting’s 11 goals in all competitions this season helped plug the gap left by Robert Lewandowski’s departure and lifted Bayern back atop the Bundesliga at the enforced mid-season break.
Both Cameroon and Switzerland come to Qatar with solid results at their continental championships in the past 18 months though each now with different coaches.