The team: After failure to qualify for the last two editions of the African Cup of Nations, and a far from convincing campaign to reach Brazil, not much is expected from Cameroon at the FIFA World Cup. Since threatening to be a major player on the world scene with a storming run to the quarter-finals at Italia ’90, nothing much has gone right for the Indomitable Lions at this level. They’ve failed to advance from the group stage since their only last-eight appearance 24 years ago, but, despite everything, this could be their best chance to grace the knockout rounds again. With a combination of experience and youth in their ranks, and fairly average opponents – bar Brazil – in the group, they are certainly in the mix.
The coach: Volker Finke
Although vastly experienced, especially in his native German, Volker Finke had never managed an international team before signing on with Cameroon. After 16 years with SC Freiburg, he spent two years coaching Urawa Reds in Japan, before returning to Germany for a brief spell at FC Köln. Getting the best out of Cameroon at the FIFA World Cup will surely be his biggest challenge to date.
Key player: Samuel Eto’o
Although arguably past his best, 33-year-old Samuel Eto’o is still a clinical finisher on his day. At Chelsea this season he’s scored some vital goals in important games, and Cameroon will be hoping their captain can do the same on the biggest stage of all in Brazil.
World ranking: 50
World Cup appearances: 6
Previous best: Quarter-finals in 1990
Qualification: Winner of group and playoff winner
Form (qualifiers): WLWWDWDW
Fixtures: June 13 vs. Mexico; June 19 vs. Croatia; June 24 vs. Brazil