Monday, May 10, 2010

2010 FIFA World Cup: Cameroon

We preview the 2010 FIFA World Cup, set for June 11-July 11 in South Africa.

Appearance: Fifth
Last time there: 2002, exited in first round
Best performance: Quarterfinals (1990)

The "Indomitable Lions" are back after missing the finals in 2006. This is the same kind of team they fielded in 2002, one that many thought could be a darkhorse in the tournament. That team was taken out by a loss to Germany in the last round of group play.

They're as inconsistent as anyone in the field, matching occasionally dazzling play with struggles against lesser foes like Togo and Morocco in qualifying play.

If players like Samuel Eto'o can score with any kind of regularity, Cameroon should be in decent shape. Achille Emana and Geremi can make plays in the midfield (Geremi is lethal on set pieces).

Reality is that Cameroon has all the weapons they need to create offense and score goals. The issue is defending. They have to find a way to slow down opponents and keep the ball out of their end of the pitch. If they find a way to control possession, Cameroon could be a real threat.

Cameroon should also benefit from being in their home continent. World Soccer's Mark Gleeson noted in their magazine preview that Cameroon will have a large backing from the local fans in South Africa, as they were the first country to play an international match in South Africa after apartheid was ended.

The draw is somewhat favorable, as Denmark isn't known for their creativity and Japan look to be a bit of a pushover in this group. The match with Holland that finishes up group play will be just as big as the match against Germany eight years ago.

June 14 vs. Japan (Bloemfontein)
June 19 vs. Denmark (Pretoria)
June 24 vs. Holland (Cape Town)

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