Cameroon v Croatia – Mandzukic Back With A Bang
Cameroon v Croatia
Cameroon take on Croatia on Wednesday with both teams desperately in need of three points following defeats in their opening games.
Oribe Peralta scored the only goal of the game just after an hour as Mexico started their tournament with a victory at Cameroon’s expense. The Mexican striker reacted quickest to a rebound to slot home confidently after Giovanni Dos Santos’ original effort had been parried by Charles Itandje to net the decisive goal but in truth, it could have been much worse for Cameroon. Dos Santos had two other legitimate ‘goals’ wrongfully disallowed by the Colombian officials and it would have been a huge injustice had they failed to win the game.
That was a third loss in six for Cameroon since they qualified for the finals, with the only victories for the Indomitable Lions over that run of games coming against minnows Macedonia and Moldova, although they did earn a creditable 2-2 draw with Germany at the beginning of June.
Croatia could certainly consider themselves hugely unlucky to lose their first World Cup outing against hosts Brazil in the opening game of the tournament last Thursday. The Croats had a dream start when Marcelo put through his own net after only 11 minutes and could definitely have added to it had they shown some more composure in front of goal.
Neymar equalised for Brazil just before the half hour although the Barcelona forward and national talisman was extremely fortunate to still be on the pitch having earlier elbowed Luka Modric. Brazil’s number ten then further rubbed salt in the wound when he converted a penalty which should never have been awarded following a scandalous dive by Fred before Oscar wrapped up a scarcely deserved victory with a late third which resulted in a first loss in six for Croatia.
Cameroon have no injury problems but German manager, Volker Finke, may opt for a change of personnel following the poor showing from his side in their opener. Pierre Webo came off the bench against Mexico but could figure from the outset here alongside Samuel Eto’o up front.
Bayern Munich striker Mario Mandzukic should return to the starting XI for Croatia after he served a one-game suspension and will certainly offer them more of a threat going forward, while former Arsenal striker, Eduardo, could be selected up top with him. There are doubts over defender Gordon Schildenfeld and Luka Modric with hamstring and ankle problems respectively, and the latter would be a significant loss as the Real Madrid man is a class act who dictates the tempo from midfield.
This will be the first time these nations have clashed in any capacity at senior level.
Both sides have no choice but to go for the jugular here as a draw is likely to play straight into the hands of Mexico and leave these teams looking at the earliest flights home possible.
Croatia are the more accomplished outfit and should have too much for opponents that were thoroughly outplayed by the Mexicans
so 3/4 odds are reasonable but I’d be more confident on both teams scoring at 8/11.
Mandzukic will be eager to make up for lost time and the prolific frontman should have too much for a slack backline to deal with so he’s well worth the 11/10 available to score anytime.