Cameroon v Croatia Preview

Group A | Wednesday 18 June | Arena Amazonia, Manaus | 23:59




The second round of matches in Group A sees Cameroon take on Croatia in Manaus on Thursday. Both sides need the three points after disappointment in their opening games. Featuring two teams who look to play proactively and have some fine creative players, it is a match that should also entertain.

To Win (90mins)
Cameroon 5/1 
Draw 28/10
Croatia 11/20

CAMEROON

Cameroon lost their opening Group A match 1-0 to Mexico. Another loss for either the Cameroonians or the Croatians is likely to mean an early exit from this year’s tournament.

Besides worrying about an early exit, both teams will also be wary of playing in the heat of the Amazon.

Cameroon have won only one of their 13 World Cup games against European sides (2-1 v Romania in 1990), drawing five and losing seven.

The Indomitable Lions have also lost their last five World Cup matches; the longest losing streak of any African nation at the tournament.

They will need nothing less then a victory to stand a chance of qualifying to the knockout stages with their last game of the group coming against Brazil.

Cameroon does not have a ton of world-class talent, but they are a very physical squad that may give Croatia problems, especially in the midfield.

Charles Itandje has been up and down in the goal for Cameroon, but he has a decent defence in front of him which can thwart the Croatian attack.

Unfortunately, The Indomitable Lions will be without their veteran striker Samuel Eto'o due to an ongoing knee injury.

Without Eto'o, Cameroon will have to rely more on starting attackers Benjamin Moukandjo and Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting, while also looking at Pierre Webo, who came off the bench to play 11 minutes against Mexico.

Young striker Vincent Aboubakar of Lorient brings pace and played well during the club season - he could be another option. 

CROATIA

Croatia had the unfortunate task of taking on the hosts from Brazil on the biggest stage in the first game of the tournament last Thursday and while many expected a thrashing by the hosts it was in fact nothing of the sort.

The final scoreline read 3-1 for Brazil but it didn’t come without controversy as Fred took a dive in the box that the referee deemed not only a penalty but a yellow card as well and that was the turning point as the Brazilians added a goal in stoppage time to put the game on ice.

Croatia though netted the first goal of the tournament on an own goal from the Brazilian back end and up until they conceded the penalty kick they were going stride for stride with The Samba Boys who are considered as favourites to win the tournament.

New Barcelona signing Ivan Rakitic will be key to the success of Croatia’s counter-attacking.

The 26-year-old can break at speed with the ball at his feet and he knows exactly when to keep it and when to thread it through to a team-mate.

Midfielder Luka Modric is hoping to be fit for this game and if he misses out that could possibly be the end of Croatia’s World Cup dream.

The Real Madrid playmaker picked up a foot injury in the defeat against Brazil but scans and tests showed no break or ligament damage.

Croatia are confident he will shake off the knock, while “The Blazers” welcome back striker Mario Mandzukic after missing the opener through suspension.

No player scored more headed goals than the Bayern Munich striker in the top five European leagues in 2013-14 (7).

Betting Prediction: CROATIA 11/20
This will be the first ever game between Cameroon and Croatia. The Croats head into the game as strong favourites at 11/20 while The Indomitable Lions are priced at 5/1. The loss of Samuel Eto’o comes at the worst time for Cameroon as they’ll be looking for two victories to qualify to the next round. The return of Mario Mandzukic will no doubt sharpen Croatia’s attack and could prove to be the decisive factor in the match. Croatia are tipped for the win.

Written by Chadley Nagel for @Hollywoodbets. Follow them both on Twitter and Facebook now! 

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