WORLD CUP HISTORY: No African country can match Cameroon’s six World Cup appearances, nor their 17 matches. Only Senegal can also lay claim to a quarter-final berth. For Cameroon, that came in 1990 when Roger Milla entered the world soccer conscience. However, failure to progress from the group phase ever since and a failure to qualify at all in 2006 has the country hungry for another good showing.
QUALIFICATION: A slow start to qualifying resulted in coach Otto Phister being fired and saw the appointment of Frenchman Paul Le Guen. The former Lyon and Rangers manager turned the campaign around, leading the Indomitable Lions to a comfortable first place finish in their group, conceding just two goals along the way to make a return to the World Cup.
KEY PLAYER: Samuel Eto’o. Despite the impressive defence, all eyes will be focused on the captain. Eto’o is truly a world-class striker, scoring nine goals qualifying to lead his team. Experienced on the world stage, this will be the third World Cup for the Inter Milan man. It’s been an incredible past two years for Eto’o, first scoring 34 goals to lead Barcelona to the treble in 2008/09. He moved to Inter this past season and won another treble, though the goalscoring did trail off under Jose Mourinho.
EXPECTATIONS: Cameroon finds themselves in a tight Group E. The Netherlands are favoured, and both Denmark and Japan have quality. Cameroon has every right to expect the knockout phase, but it could face Italy in the Round of 16 if Group F goes according to plan, making a repeat of 1990 a tough task for the Africans.