Fri, Dec

Switzerland vs Cameroon: Cameroon left red-faced by Swiss Breel-iance

Switzerland (wc)
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A second-half strike from Breel Embolo fired Switzerland to a narrow 1-0 victory over Cameroon in their FIFA World Cup opener, as the Indomitable Lions suffered an eighth-straight defeat in the competition dating back to 2002. 

Coming into the contest on the back of an unbeaten qualifying campaign, Switzerland looked full of confidence in the opening exchanges, with plenty of possession inside the Cameroon half. Despite seeing little of the ball, it was the African side who came closest to finding an early breakthrough, as Yann Sommer saved well from Bryan Mbeumo and Karl Toko-Ekambi blazed the rebound wastefully over the bar.
Cameroon continued to threaten the Swiss defence during a tightly-fought opening half-hour, with Sommer again called into action to deny efforts from Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting and Martin Hongla. As the first half progressed, the Red Crosses gradually regained control of proceedings, and spurned a glorious opportunity to take the lead on the stroke of HT, when Manuel Akanji glanced a close-range header narrowly wide of the target.

Switzerland emerged after the restart eager to build on their momentum, and duly found the opener within three minutes, as Xherdan Shaqiri’s accurate pull-back was clinically dispatched by Cameroon-born Breel Embolo from inside the six-yard box. Undeterred by the setback, the Indomitable Lions searched for an immediate response, but Sommer stood firm to deny Choupo-Moting and Andre Zambo Anguissa with a pair of crucial saves.
Switzerland thought they’d doubled their advantage with 25 minutes remaining, when Ruben Vargas fired a close-range strike towards goal, but André Onana reacted brilliantly to divert the ball around the post. Cameroon looked to make the most of this reprieve as they pushed for a late equaliser, but the Swiss rearguard held firm to secure all three points and make the best possible start to their pursuit of a third-successive last-16 appearance.