2002 World Cup final: Switzerland beat Cameroon, Breel Embolo’s goal made history in a 1-0 win

Switzerland got off to an efficient start FIFA World Cup campaign with a 1-0 win over Cameroon in Al Wakrah. Yaounde-born Breel Embolo made history early in the second half by becoming the first player in tournament history to score for his adopted country against his native country.

However, it was frustrating for the Indomitable Lions who were the better side in the first half and missed some good chances to take the lead at Al Janoub Stadium. Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting, Bryan Mbeumo and Karl Toko Ekambi all looked dangerous at times but the Swiss have established themselves as a tough nation internationally and maintained their dominance in the second 45.

Things could have been worse for Rigobert Song’s men if Andre Onana hadn’t been so sharp between the posts to keep the Swiss at bay. Ultimately, however, the Nati stayed tight at the back and looked to the win, raising their hopes of another deep run after conquering France at Euro 2020.

As for Cameroon, a difficult group with Serbia and Brazil got even tougher to arguably play tougher matches than this. Can they fight back to fulfill their hopes of reaching the knockout stages for the first time since 1990, or has the damage already been done?

All eyes in this group are now on Brazil meets Serbia later this Thursday in Lusail – and while you’re at it, sign up for our new newsletter covering the beautiful game in all its glory, including daily updates on the Worlds.

Some food stalls from Al Janoub Stadium.

Embolo makes history

The game’s only goal came early in the second half when Shaqiri scored Embolo to score against his native country. The Swiss-raised striker, who, like absent international team-mate Yvon Mvogo, hails from Yaounde, received a muted celebration out of respect for his homeland. This is the first time this has happened at a World Cup, although Poland-born Lukas Podolski did it for Germany at Euro 2008 when they beat the Polish team. With some players now representing their nations of choice rather than their birth nations, this could be an increasing trend from this point forward.

Cameroon misses chances

At half-time it looked like the Africans were the closest to winning as Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting, Bryan Mbeumo and Karl Toko Ekambi gave Switzerland problems in defence. In the end, Yann Sommer, Manuel Akanji and the Nati back line held on and held Cameroon in check, but it was a lesson in efficiency for the Indomitable Lions. Rigobert Song’s men can’t be so wasteful against Serbia if they still want something against Brazil.

Shaqiri transformed

Although his club career has taken a curious trajectory, the 31-year-old has been a consistent performer for his country over the years and that is reflected in his incredible participation rate of 50%, based on Switzerland’s goals in the last four international tournaments . Shaqiri, who now plays in Major League Soccer with Chicago Fire, scored Embolo’s only goal and continues to prove just how indispensable he is to Murat Yakin’s men.

Choupo-Moting Dependency?

Much of Cameroon’s approach was based on the Bayern-Munich’s recent improvement in form despite a string of high-profile players on the pitch. Choupo-Moting is currently in top form but cannot single-handedly lead the Indomitable Lions to the knockout stage. If Song’s men want to go through, which admittedly seems less likely after this result, then they need to be more sober and perhaps bring more players into the game by being less direct against Serbia’s collective technique.



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