The Indomitable Lions were dealt a difficult assignment in Qatar, where they’ll hope to put an end to a 20-year wait for another win on the World Cup stage.
Cameroon face Serbia in a Group G fixture at the 2022 FIFA World Cup with both teams seeking their first win in the competition. Both sides have positives to pick from their opening games but Serbia are likely to have the upper hand with their superior quality.
Cameroon began their Group G campaign with a 1-0 defeat to Switzerland in their opening fixture at the World Cup. They missed several goalscoring opportunities and were punished for not making any of their five attempts on target count.
While it was a disappointing result, manager Rigobert Song will be keen to focus on the positives of their performance. The Cameroonians were enterprising throughout and had long spells of dominance in the encounter.
Although there were positives in the performance, the result extends a disappointing record that suggests Cameroon may be out of their depth at the elite level. The Indomitable Lions have now lost their last eight matches at the World Cup, a run stretching back to the 2002 tournament.
Serbia were also beaten in their opening fixture, suffering a 2-0 defeat to tournament favourites Brazil. They put up a stubborn resistance for much of the encounter before they were eventually broken down.
The Serbians had no attempts on target, but that may be as a result of intentionally setting out to frustrate the Brazilians. They are likely to be more adventurous against Cameroon and given the quality in their attack, are expected to cause the Africans plenty of trouble.
The defeat to Brazil was also the first in seven matches for Serbia, who have been in good form lately. Dragan Stojkovic’s men have won five times in that run, including a 4-1 victory over Sweden in September.
Despite drawing a blank on Thursday, Bayern Munich forward Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting is likely to keep his place for Cameroon, given some scintillating form during recent weeks. Rigobert Song could consider turning to his long-serving captain Vincent Aboubakar instead, who came off the bench in their opening game but the Saudi Arabia-based striker is either expected to start on the bench once again or likely to be given the nod from the start on Monday. The striker was top scorer at the AFCON earlier this year and is primed to get off the mark in Qatar.
As such, expect Rigobert Song’s side to show much more attacking threat in this encounter against much-fancied dark horses Serbia, though a repeat result of their opener vs Switzerland should perhaps be expected.
With just three wins between them across their prior 20 World Cup combined outings heading into this clash, Cameroon and Serbia will both be desperate to take three points to give themselves a shot at qualification for the Round of 16.
The second round of World Cup matches so far has seen a small explosion of goals when looking at the sides who failed to grab a victory in their respective openers.
Given that Cameroon and Serbia both failed to win three vital points on matchday one, we expect plenty of goals in this clash as a result, especially when looking at both sides’ pre-tournament form.
Serbia struck 18 times across their final six matches before the 2022 World Cup, with four of those outings witnessing both teams score.
Similarly, both of Cameroon’s friendlies before this tournament saw both teams net in two 1-1 draws.
Weaknesses for Serbia
Their potent mixture of goalscoring talent in Alexsandar Mitrovic, Dusan Vlahovic, and Luka Jovic bodes well. Then, the providers to those outlets, Dusan Tadic, Sergej Milinkovic-Savic and Filip Kostic make for a constant threat across the front six.
The squad is stacked. It’s almost surprising why the world failed to notice Serbia’s strength until after it beat Portugal to secure an automatic World Cup berth. Onana must work overtime defending against what will probably be a flurry of Serbian shots.
Aleksandar Mitrovic has six goals in his last five international appearances but had a quiet time in the opening fixture due to the manager’s tactics. With Serbia expected to be more adventurous on Monday, the striker could be backed to get on the score sheet.
Balance is the most important aspect in which Serbia would like to improve as they are stacked with offensive options and a timid back line where they currently fall short. Serbia’s defensive system lacks solidity, and the playing style necessitates a solid back line, which could eventually pose a threat to Serbia.
There will be a lot of pressure on Milinkovic-Savic to lead Serbia’s midfield, but the Lazio star has struggled to transfer his club form into the international sphere previously, and there is a notable lack of mobility in behind him.
The weaknesses are defence and inconsistent goalkeepers. The main centre-backs are still young and they don’t play in Europe’s best teams. The only experienced centre-back is Stefan Mitrovic, but he never was a top-class player and is slow. All of that resulted in keeping only three clean sheets in 13 competitive games under Stojkovic’s lead, conceding even in games against Europe’s weakest national teams.
They haven’t had a nailed number one in the past few years, with Rajkovic and Dmitrovic getting similar game-time and both making mistakes often. But Vanja Milinkovic-Savic, the lazier of the two Milinkovic-Savic brothers, started the last four matches after finally getting the number one spot for his club Torino as well. His advantage over Rajkovic and Dmitrovic is that he is much taller than them and great at ball playing, which is very important for the coach, even though he is the youngest in that position. Other than that, there is a lack of running sometimes.
Opportunities and Threats
This is the first meeting between Cameroon and Serbia in all competitions since a 4-3 friendly win for the Serbs in June 2010.
Serbia has lost both of their Fifa World Cup games as an independent nation against African sides, doing so against Ivory Coast in 2006 (2-3) and Ghana in 2010 (0-1).
Cameroon has now lost each of its last eight matches at the World Cup, with those defeats coming across four tournaments (2002, 2010, 2014, and 2022). Defeat here would equal the longest-ever losing run by a nation at the World Cup, set by Mexico between 1930 and 1958 (9 in a row).
Serbia has lost eight of their 10 World Cup games as an independent nation (80percentt), the highest loss percentage of any side to have played at least 10 games in the competition.
Cameroon is averaging just 0.8 goals per game at the World Cup (18 goals in 24 games), the lowest goals-per-game ratio of any nation to play at least 20 games in the competition. They’ve failed to score in five of their last eight games at the World Cup, scoring just three times.
Serbia has conceded in eight of their 10 games at the World Cup, shipping at least two goals in six of those games. However, they have won both games in which they’ve managed to keep a clean sheet.
Cameroon has won just one of their 15 World Cup matches against European opponents (D5 L9), a 2-1 win over Romania in 1990. They are winless in 12 games since (D3 L9), with Rigobert Song playing in six of those winless games.
Eric Choupo-Moting was the only Cameroon player to have more than one effort at goal in their 1-0 defeat to Switzerland (2), with the forward now failing to score in all six games at the World Cup and with all 12 efforts at goal. Only Louis Mfede (17) has had more shots without scoring for Cameroon at the World Cup than Choupo-Moting.
Since Cameroon and Serbia are seeking their first win in the competition, Monday’s clash is expected to be an open contest. Both teams could be backed to score.
Both teams are likely to take some time to find their rhythm, so the second half could be tipped to produce the most goals.
All fans want is to get a win, for starters. In a group featuring Brazil, Switzerland, and Serbia, Cameroon, bereft of obvious star power like they used to have, will be seen as miracle workers should they advance into the knockout stage.
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