Mexico v Cameroon Preview

Group A | Friday 13 June | Arena das Dunas, Natal | 18:00




Group A’s other two sides meet on Friday hoping to get on to the points board before taking on higher ranked sides in Brazil and Croatia. This could turn out to be an exciting encounter as both teams are unpredictable but capable of top class performances and will be giving their all here.

To Win (90mins)
Mexico 5/4
Draw 21/10
Cameroon 23/10

MEXICO

Mexico endured a struggle of epic and hugely surprising proportions to make it to Brazil.

On the back of taking Olympic gold in 2012 as well as winning the Gold Cup and Under-17 World Cup the previous year, there was talk of a “golden generation” of Mexican talent.

Qualifying for the World Cup was thought a mere formality, but they got off to a horrible start in CONCACAF's final round, with a series of goalless draws under the stifling conservatism of Jose Manuel.

Having waited too long to dispense with him, Mexico then went through a further two coaches in the space of three games.

Despite the chaos, a dramatic overhead kick from Raul Jimenez claimed a vital win over Panama in their penultimate game to pushed Mexico into a playoff.

Having already blown so many second chances, Mexico made no mistake in their two-legged tie with Oceania winners New Zealand.

New coach Miguel Herrera’s squad hammered New Zealnd 9-3 on aggregate.

With Carlos Vela continuing his self-imposed exile from the national team and Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez struggling for club and country, there will be much responsibility on Giovani dos Santos’ shoulders in the country of his father, Zizinho.

He also has much to prove. He was superb in the Gold Cup final of 2011, but Dos Santos failed to replicate that form through qualifying.  

CAMEROON

Cameroon return to the World Cup finals for the seventh time with one of the world’s most successful players in their ranks, but their prospects of progress past the first round look slim with group matches against hosts Brazil, Croatia and Mexico.

Their 2014 squad has little of the charisma of previous teams who won worldwide affection with their dogged style and colourful kit.

Cameroon won only half of the eight games they needed to qualify for Brazil, benefiting along the way from group rivals Togo using an ineligible player in a match in which they beat Cameroon but then had the points reversed.

It was only at the end of the preliminaries last November that Cameroon, who had squeezed through the group stage, showed any form, beating Tunisia 4-1 in their decisive qualifier to win a play-off for a place at the finals in Brazil.

Their German coach Volker Finke remains under a constant barrage of criticism despite adding some obvious structure to the side.

Among his fiercest critics is former World Cup hero Roger Milla, who feels a local coach should be in charge.

Captain Samuel Eto’o, who has won three Champions League titles and league honours in Spain and Italy, will compete in a fourth World Cup as captain of a team he has been accused of dividing.

Their 2010 finals appearance, where they lost all three group games, was beset with personality problems, notably between Eto’o and midfielder Alex Song.

Song did not play for Cameroon for 18 months after the World Cup because of the bust-up, but Finke has suggested much of the antagonism has been put to bed.

They head to Brazil with a tough task ahead of them and, although many of their players have experience at the highest level in the major European leagues, success in South America looks a step too far as they lack team cohesion.

Betting PredictionMEXICO 5/4
Playing defensive football in an attempt of settling for one point won't help either of these teams and none of them are particularly good at defending draws. It’s a game that could go either way and expect end to end stuff, but Mexico should have the edge over their African opponents for the three points.

Written by Wayde Dorkin for @Hollywoodbets. Follow them both on Twitter and Facebook now! 

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