Cameroon will look to seal a spot in the FIFA World Cup 2022 Round of 16 when they take on Brazil at the Lusail Stadium on Friday.
The curtains will fall on the group stage of the FIFA World Cup 2022 on Friday, with four matches on the show. Group G remains wide open, with three teams in contention to clinch a place in the Round of 16. And Cameroon will hope to be that side when they face Brazil at the Lusail Stadium.
Cameroon made an inauspicious start to the FIFA World Cup 2022, with Switzerland beating them 1-0. That was the eighth successive World Cup defeat for the Indomitable Lions. But Rigobert Song’s men showed improvements in their second outing, playing out a 3-3 draw. That result means that Cameroon, Switzerland, and Serbia will vie for one spot in the Round of 16.
On the other hand, Tite has overseen a professional campaign thus far for Brazil. The South American giants have been arguably the most solid team at the FIFA World Cup 2022, winning both games while not conceding a single goal. The Selecao will likely finish the group stage as table toppers before facing the runners-up from Group H.
Brazil eked out a narrow 1-0 win the last time they clashed against Cameroon, with Richarlison scoring the only goal. The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at the FIFA World Cup 2022 encounter ahead of the latest meeting between the two sides.
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Rigobert Song does not have any new issues hampering his preparations this week. The Cameroon head coach will only be without Andre Onana against Brazil. The star goalkeeper has gone back home due to a team suspension for disagreements with Song.
Devis Epassy will start in place of Onana against Brazil on Friday, with Cameroon lining up in a 4-3-3 formation in front of him. Jean-Charles Castelletto and Nicolas Nkoulou should form the central defensive partnership, with Collins Fai and Nouhou Tolo being the two full-backs.
Up ahead in midfield, Martin Hongla will look to keep things tight. Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa and Pierre Kunde will provide defensive support to Hongla. Meanwhile, the former will also aim to push Cameroon forward quickly during transitions, looking to catch Brazil off-guard.
As for the offensive unit, Song might make one change after Vincent Aboubakar’s performance off the bench versus Serbia. The 30-year-old should come in for Bryan Mbuemo, lining up alongside Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting and Karl Toko Ekambi in the final third.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Epassy; Fai, Castelletto, Nkoulou, Tolo; Hongla, Anguissa, Kunde; Aboubakar, Choupo-Moting, Toko Ekambi
Unlike his counterpart in the Cameroon dugout, Tite has another fitness concern to deal with ahead of the trip to the Lusail Stadium. The Brazil head coach will be without Alex Sandro for the final group game on Friday.
Neymar and Danilo are already recovering from ankle injuries, facing a race against time to take the field in the Round of 16. And Alex Sandro is the latest player in the treatment room after sustaining a muscle injury. But Tite was going to rotate the starting eleven anyway, giving Sandro time to recover completely.
Dani Alves will captain Brazil on Friday! pic.twitter.com/pdGiEKhCbw
— Brasil Football 🇧🇷 (@BrasilEdition) November 30, 2022
Alex Telles will come in for Alex Sandro as the left-back, with Dani Alves likely donning the armband for Brazil against Cameroon. Marquinhos and Thiago Silva will earn some rest, with Eder Militao and Gleison Bremer forming the central defensive partnership. Meanwhile, Ederson Moraes should make a rare start between the sticks.
Casemiro has been colossal in the middle of the park for Brazil. So Fabinho will have big shoes to fill against Cameroon on Friday. The 29-year-old will line up alongside Bruno Guimaraes in the double pivot.
The attacking quartet will have the license to express themselves, with Tite looking for fluidity in the final third. Gabriel Jesus should spearhead Brazil’s attack on Friday, with Rodrygo Goes playing just behind him. Gabriel Martinelli and Antony will likely be the two wide men, hoping to give Tite a selection headache for the Round of 16.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Ederson; Alves, Militao, Bremer, Alex Telles; Fabinho, Bruno Guimaraes; Antony, Rodrygo, Martinelli; Gabriel Jesus
- Brazil have won five of their six meetings with Cameroon in all competitions (L1), most recently a 1-0 friendly win in November 2018. The Selecao have won both previous FIFA World Cup games between the sides, 3-0 in 1994 and 4-1 in 2014.
- Cameroon’s first-ever FIFA World Cup game (Peru in 1982) and first-ever FIFA World Cup victory (Argentina in 1990) came against South American opponents. Overall they have won two, drawn two and lost two of their World Cup games against teams from the continent, with both defeats coming against Brazil.
- Brazil have won all seven of their FIFA World Cup matches against African sides, scoring 20 goals and conceding just twice.
- Brazil are yet to face a single shot on target at the 2022 World Cup, the first team to achieve this feat in their first two games at an edition since France in 1998. The fewest shots on target faced by a team in a group stage since 1966 is two by Argentina in 1998. The Selecao have kept a clean sheet in five of their last six World Cup matches, failing only in their 2-1 quarter-final defeat to Belgium in 2018. They had only kept four clean sheets in their previous 16 games before this run.
- Brazil are unbeaten in their last 17 World Cup group stage matches (W14 D3), a tournament record. They are looking to win all three of their group matches in a single edition for the first time since 2006.
Player to Watch
Bruno Guimaraes might be a frustrated player, considering he is one of the best midfielders in the Premier League and yet finds himself on the bench for Brazil. The 25-year-old is arguably a better player than Lucas Paqueta and Fred in the roles they have essayed for the Selecao at the FIFA World Cup 2022. But for some reason, Tite remains sceptical of using him.
However, there is a reason why clubs like Real Madrid and Barcelona are keen on signing Bruno Guimaraes. And on Friday, the Newcastle United talisman will get an opportunity to show why he is a hot property in the transfer market. A solid showing should help him usurp Paqueta and Fred, which invariably bodes well for Brazil.
Cameroon 1-2 Brazil
Cameroon will fancy the chances of springing a surprise on a much-changed Brazil on Friday. And that gives them the best chance of clinching three points and reaching the Round of 16. But Tite will still have a strong enough eleven to come through unscathed. Hence, The Hard Tackle predicts a hard-fought 2-1 win for the Selecao.
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