Switzerland kicked off their 2022 FIFA World Cup campaign on a winning note thanks to a narrow 1-0 victory over Cameroon at the Al Janoub Stadium earlier today.
The Africans began the contest on a bright note and nearly took through lead Bryan Mbeumo 10 minutes in, although Yann Sommer was on hand to deny the Brentford man.
From the resulting rebound, Karl Toko Ekambi inexplicably fired over the bar and Cameroon’s wait for a first World Cup goal since 2014 continued.
As the game went further, Switzerland started to assert themselves gradually but had to wait till first-half stoppage time for their first real chance as Manuel Akanji failed to convert Ruben Vargas’ excellent delivery from a corner.
That was the last meaningful action of the opening 45 minutes, and the sides went into the interval with all to play for.
Buoyed by their late flurry just before the half-time whistle, Switzerland began the second half on a more positive note which led to the opener just three minutes into the second half.
After some great work in midfield, Xherdan Shaqiri was released down the right-hand side and the ex-Liverpool man delivered a superb cross into the box for Breel Embool to finish from close range.
A Cameroonian by birth, Embolo put on a subdued celebration while his international teammates rallied around him.
Having gone behind, the Indomitable Lions pushed forward in search of an equaliser and nearly drew level through Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting, whose effort from a tight angle was well dealt with by Sommer.
Andre Zambo Anguissa was the next to threaten Sommer’s goal, but his header from a set piece was comfortably saved.
At the other end, Andre Onana was called into action on several occasions and the Inter Milan goalkeeper had to be at his best to keep his side alive in the contest.
Onana first denied Ruben Vargas from close range midway through the second half before comfortably dealing with Granit Xhaka’s strike from the edge of the box.
As Cameroon pushed forward for a late winner in second-half stoppage time, Switzerland nearly delivered a sucker punch through Haris Seferovic but some excellent defending from Jean-Charles Castelletto kept the scores at 1-0.
Referee Facundo Tello brought the game to an end shortly after that as Switzerland moved top of Group G, while Cameroon sit bottom ahead of the other group fixture between Brazil and Serbia later today.
Yann Sommer (7.5/10) – Made five saves en route to a clean sheet and was very comfortable in possession.
Ricardo Rodriguez (5.5/10) – Struggled defensively against the threat of Bryan Mbeumo while also failing to provide any attacking threat.
Nico Elvedi (7/10) – Displayed his usual excellent passing range and completed an impressive six clearances.
Manuel Akanji (6/10) – Spurned a great chance to open the scoring in the first half but was solid whenever he was called upon at the back.
Silvan Widmer (8/10) *MOTM* – Solid at both ends of the pitch with eight clearances, three tackles, two aerial duels won and one chance created.
Granit Xhaka (6.5/10) – Put in an assured display in midfield and nearly made things safe for his side with a long-range effort late on.
Remo Freuler (6/10) – Provided solid defensive cover for the back four thanks to his industry in the centre of the park.
Ruben Vargas (6/10) – A decent outing for the 24-year-old in his first World Cup appearance which should have ended with at least one assist.
Djibril Sow (5/10) – Failed to have any meaningful impact on the game and was deservingly hooked off with 20 minutes left to play.
Xherdan Shaqiri (6/10) – Largely struggled with his delivery into the box from out wide but still managed to provide the game-winning assist.
Breel Embolo (7/10) – Despite being an isolated figure for major spells of the contest, he held his own against the Cameroonian defence and took his goal with aplomb.
Haris Seferovic (5.5/10) – Nearly killed the game in the second half but for some excellent last-ditch defending.
Fabian Frei – 4.5/10
Noah Okafor – 5/10
Fabian Rieder – 5/10
Eray Comert – N/A
Andre Onana (6.5/10) – Made two key saves to keep his side in the game as they pushed forward in search of a leveller.
Nouhou Tolo (6/10) – Completed a game-high four tackles, although his output at the attacking end left a lot to be desired.
Nicolas N’Koulou (6/10) – Could have done better with his headed chance from inside the box but was solid at the back.
Jean-Charles Castelletto (7/10) – Was a tad unlucky to have ended up on the losing side as he completed five clearances, three interceptions and two tackles.
Collins Fai (5.5/10) – Fluffed several decent chances to provide excellent service into the box.
Samuel Oum Gouet (6/10) – Keep things moving in the middle of the park nicely without necessarily having any real impact.
Martin Hongla (6/10) – Was directly involved in three shot-creating actions and displayed an excellent range of passing with four long balls completed at 100% accuracy.
Frank Anguissa (6.5/10) – The Napoli midfielder put on a solid display with his ball-carrying ability and combative nature.
Bryan Mbeumo (6/10) – Enjoyed a decent outing in his first appearance at a major international tournament.
Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting (5.5/10) – Showed great industry to fashion out a chance from a tight angle but couldn’t muster any other attacking threat.
Karl Toko Ekambi (5/10) – Failed to convert his nation’s best chance of the game and was denied a second crack at goal from point-blank range as he prepared to pull the trigger.
Gael Ondoua – 5/10
Vincent Aboubakar (5/10) – Came off the bench but was unable to get on the end of any opportunities.
Georges-Kevin N’Koudou (4/10) – A poor cameo from the Besiktas man who failed to win any of his duels, while completing just three passes.
Nicolas Ngamaleu – 4/10
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