Cameroon born Embolo’s goal was enough to make the difference between two teams of the day’s first match of the World Cup 2022 when in the keenly contested match Switzerland defeated Cameroon by a solitary goal on Thursday at Al Janoub Stadium. Switzerland continued their record of not losing a World Cup opening game in their past five appearances on football’s biggest stage as they edged past a lively Cameroon side in their Group G match.
Cameroon-born forward Breel Embolo scored the all important goal for Switzerland in the first half after winger Xherdan Shaqiri slid a perfect ball across the box.
Embolo, 25, was born in Cameroon’s capital, Yaounde, but moved to Switzerland with his family and received Swiss citizenship shortly after his 18th birthday.
After scoring Embolo raised his hands in an apologetic manner as teammates celebrated around him. He pointed toward Swiss fans behind the goal where he had scored, then to Cameroon fans at the opposite corner of Al Janoub stadium.
Cameroon were the better side in the opening half and might have had the lead as Karl Toko Ekambi, Eric-Maxim Choupo-Moting and Martin Hongla all missed good chances against a lacklustre Switzerland side that battled to get out of first gear.
But the Swiss were much improved in the second period and took the lead through Embolo’s well-worked goal. Ruben Vargas had an excellent chance to score a second but was thwarted by goalkeeper Andre Onana, even as Cameroon ran out of steam.
Embolo's close-range finish early of the second half proved the difference while his celebration was understandably muted, he was mobbed by his ecstatic team-mates for scoring what could be a vital goal with tough tests against Brazil and Serbia to come.
Cameroon have now lost their last eight World Cup games. They will need to improve in front of goal if they are to get a positive result in their next game against Serbia next Monday.
In the end, the European nation deserved the win. While they were slightly outdone by Cameroon in the first half, they tactically outplayed them in the second, limiting the attacks and energy of the Indomitable Lions.
It was a tight game with Switzerland having 51 percent of the ball possession and Cameroon with 49 percent.