Cameroon 3-3 Serbia: World Cup 2022 – as it happened

Last modified: 12: 21 PM GMT+0

A thriller saw Vincent Aboubakar start Cameroon’s comeback and then set up Eric Choupo-Moting for the equaliser just as Serbia seemed in control

Here’s Jonathan Wilson’s match report from the Al Janoub Stadium.

That Aboubakar goal a triumph for the semi-automated VAR tech. Hurrah!

(It was a beautiful finish.)

Vincent Aboubakar JUST being played onside by the boot of Nikola Milenkovic for Cameroon's second goal.

Won't get a VAR onside call much more marginal.

(He was well onside when he created Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting's goal).#CMRSRB #FIFAWorldCup

— Dale Johnson (@DaleJohnsonESPN) November 28, 2022

The permutations are highly complicated for this group. It all goes down to Friday, though if either Switzerland or Brazil win later today they will qualify.

Pos Team P GD Pts
1 Brazil 1 2 3
2 Switzerland 1 1 3
3 Cameroon 2 -1 1
4 Serbia 2 -2 1


Full-time: Cameroon 3-3 Serbia

The players hit the floor after a classic intercontinental encounter. It looked to be Serbia’s game but then Vincent Aboubakar changed things, with that brilliant, impudent goal and then the assist for Eric Choupo-Moting. Serbia will rue the misses from Aleksandar Mitrovic, who looks desperately disappointed. Both teams need a win from their next match, with Brazil next up for Cameroon, and Switzerland a tall-ish order for Serbia.

90+6 min: Cameroon have another free-kick, but it’s cleared. One last chance? No, it’s shepherded to safety and that’s that.

90+5 min: Grujic tries a snap shot for Serbia. Epassy is not caught out this time.

90+4 min: Nkoudou, the Tottenham legend and icon, win a free-kick in a dangerous position. He takes it himself and blams it straight into the grateful arms of the Serbian keeper.

90+3 min: Rigobert Song roars on his men. We are told by ITV’s Seb Hutchinson that 43 percent of goals in the 10am kickoffs have come in this match.

90+1 min: Epassy makes a good save from Mitrovic, and with his chin. It was probably offside but all good for confidence with Brazil coming next.

90 min: How much bonus soccer will we receive? Just six minutes? Fifa, you swines.

89 min: Mitrovic is set up by Tadic, but can only drag wide. Chances at both ends. That’s the way we like it.

88 min: Kostic…oof. The ball spins into his path and yet he is running too fast to keep control. It’s that type of game.

86 min: Choupo-Moting sends the brilliant Aboubakar speeding away, down the left rather than right. He can’t beat Vanja Milinkovic-Savic from there. But what danger he has created.

85 min: Bassogog causing problems now, and Serbia seem satisfied with sitting back. They are looking to the counter and the speed of Kostic.

83 min: A female Cameroon fan is shown praying. For a win, presumably. Or ten minutes of time added on.

81 min: Zambo-Anguissa and Mbeumo are off now. Cameroon pushing on, and they have Brazil in mind. Nkoudou and Bassogog are paired up front, and Serbia chose to bring on defensive players. They are eyeing Switzerland in their final game.

80 min: Vanja Milinkovic-Savic kicks clear under pressure. And Cameroon press the ball back up again.

78 min: Sergej Milinkovic-Savic has a chance to shoot..but wide….

Three Serbian subs: Marko Grujic on for Sergej Milinkovic-Savic is one of them. No sign of Vlahovic as yet.

77 min: And yet Serbia could have stolen it, only for Mitrovic to delay his shot, one-on-one with Epassy, giving him the chance to do so.

75 min: Cameroon really going for it now. Their tradition of attacking football in full flight, they used to be so exciting, their Olympic win at Sydney 2000 comes to mind.

73 min: Aboubakar who has been the key player in this match, is getting heated. He probably won’t win the Fifa MOM award as he plays for Al Nassr, though as captain, he may have a good chance. He’s been brilliant.

Vincent Aboubakar of Cameroon celebrates after scoring his team's second goal.
Vincent Aboubakar celebraes after his fine finish got Cameroon back into the game. Photograph: Rolex dela Pena/EPA


72 min: Both teams defending desperately, getting in the spirit of chaos. The Cameroon fans making all kind of noise.

70 min: Serbia get a corner, and it gives them time to think. Tadic’s corner is cleared, only for Epassy to look panicky, only for Choupo-Moting to take up the cudgels and whack it away.

Players of Cameroon (left) and Serbia in action.
One of you! Photograph: Rolex dela Pena/EPA


69 min: Richard Stead in the stadium: “Cracking match this. Serbian fans stunned by that. It looked a mile offside from where I’m sitting!”

68 min: We have a classic on our hands here.

66 min: There were 150 seconds between the Serbia goals in the first half, and then there were 150 seconds between the Cameroon goals. It’s a funny old game, Saint.

Goal! Cameroon 3-3 Serbia (Choupo-Moting, 64)

Aboubakar again! He spins out wide right, they have no answer to his pace and he slots the ball inside and Choupo-Moting slots in! What an impact. No offside, and it’s Serbia’s turn to rage at each other.

Cameroon’s Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting (top) slots the ball past Serbia’s goalkeeper Vanja Milinkovic-Savic to make it 3-3.
Cameroon’s Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting (top) slots the ball past Serbia’s goalkeeper Vanja Milinkovic-Savic to make it 3-3. Photograph: Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images
Cameroon fans celebrate on of their team's goals,
With those two quick goals getting Cameroon level, it’s no wonder there fans are rather happy. Photograph: Adam Pretty/FIFA/Getty Images


Goal! Cameroon 2-3 Serbia (Aboubakar, 64)

There was a VAR delay, it took it’s time but the automated offside does him a solid. He seemed to think he was offside, and thus scooped the ball over Milinkovic-Savic in the Serbian goal. It was quite a finish, hit when he thought he was offside. He’s made quite an impact, has Aboubakar.

Vincent Aboubakar of Cameroon scores his team’s second goal with an audacious lob.
Vincent Aboubakar of Cameroon is through with only Serbia’s Vanja Milinkovic-Savic to beat. Photograph: François Nel/Getty Images
Vincent Aboubakar of Cameroon scores his team’s second goal with an audacious lob.
And he gets Cameroon back in the game with an audacious lob. Photograph: Hannah McKay/Reuters


63 min: Chaos in the Cameroon defence. N’Koulou loses it in the son, and Mitrovic can only lob it into the sidenetting.

61 min: Are Cameroon done? Not if you are Aboubakar, who goes on a mazy run, sending a couple of Serbs skidding. He looks to be fancying a Saeed Al-Owairan 1994 effort but then gets blocked off. Cameroon relying on individual moments rather than the fluidity of the Serbians.

59 min: Matthew Lysaght gets in touch: “Could it be fair to say that Cameroon checked out of this World Cup not long after the start of their game against Switzerland?”

They’re still in this, for now.

Luke Justus: “I think if players go down holding their face, the ref should have to summon the physio and the player should then have to leave the field as they received treatment. Not allowed back on for the next phase of play. See how long it lasts then.”

James Dixon: “I agree with Mr Campbell entirely. Exaggerating the pain from minimal contact is bad enough, but holding your face/head when the whole world’s just clearly seen the guy lightly brush your left pectoral in 4K, super slo-mo is beyond ridiculous. More seriously, if football/FIFA are serious about dealing better with head injuries etc, a good first step would be to punish those who pretend to have them when it’s obviously, demonstrably not the case. “

57 min: Close for Cameroon! Choupo-Moting nods wide from Mbeumo’s cross. They need to find a way back in and fast.

56 min: Serbia make a change, and Pavlovic, the scorer, has a groin problem. On comes another Mitrovic, Stefan.

55 min: The Cameroon players are arguing among themselves now. A first sub is made, and Hongla, one of those arguing, is replaced by Aboubakar

Goal! Cameroon 1-3 Serbia (Mitrovic, 53)

Oh that’s a beauty. Serbia pass Cameroon to death, and do look to have overplayed. Tadic and Sergej Milinkovic-Savic play patiently, and Epassy isolated, Mitrovic just needs to pass the ball in.

Serbia’s Aleksandar Mitrovic scores his side’s third goal.
He’s not gonna miss from there. Photograph: Manu Fernández/AP
Aleksandar Mitrovic of Serbia celebrates with teammates after scoring their team's third goal.
Mitrovic celebrates with his teammates. Photograph: Adam Pretty/FIFA/Getty Images


51 min: Cameroon having to do most of the defending, as Tadic flicks the ball on to Mitrovic. Then Mbeumo speeds on, only for Milenkovic to clatter him. We are not far off some retaliation for one of these challenges sparking something up.

49 min: Call for handball in Cameroon’s box from Sergej Milinkovic-Savic’s shot but it needs to hit the hand to be a handball.

48 min: Zambo-Anguissa dishes out some residual pain to Kostic. Choupo-Moting puts in a sonic reducer on Sergej Milinkovic-Savic. There’s a small chance this game turns out to be the Battle of The Al Janoub.

47 min: Not much love lost here, and those overcelebrations were a big part of the needle on show.

46 min: We are back underway, and Zambo-Anguissa is still out there, presumably patched up. On the touchline, Rigobert Song glowers under his trademark baseball cap.

Both teams celebrated goals with their subs running out to join the party. And both teams had subs booked for joining the celebrations.

Sam Campbell: “I know most people aren’t fans of VAR but while we have it why can’t they use it to punish players going down holding their faces for no reason. Proper old man shouting at clouds from me but it really winds me up.”


Richard Hirst on Zambo-Anguissa, who it would be a shock to come out for the second half. There were two minutes and 30 seconds between two goals his physical condition played a part in. “Anguissa was much better when he came back to us after his first spell on loan, but still not the player he was before and is now with Napoli. Not getting the best of him and Seri was a major part of our Premier League downfall that season.”

The word on Onana is that he has been BANISHED from the Cameroon squad altogether, and was not part of that celebration for the Castelletto goal. In fact, despite Big Samuel Eto’o stepping in, Rigobert Song has had enough. Classic World Cup bustup stuff.

Half-time: Cameroon 1-2 Serbia

What a game so far, full of incident, and let’s be honest, some very odd defending. Cameroon looked to have made it to half-time, only for them to go to sleep at a free-kick, and then do much the same for a quickfire Serbia second. The last of the 10am kick-offs has not followed the 0-0 at half-time template. Not at all.

45+6 min: Cameroon are gone here, they are desperate for half-time. This time, Epassy saves them, as Mitrovic’s shot is smuggled off for a corner. Serbia want a third. The corner that comes next causes all kinds of trouble before, at the other end, Vanja Milinkovic-Savic, the goalie, comes out to play sweeper in the style Onana likes, though gets in launched in a style Rigobert Song would approve of. And that’s the last of it.

Goal! Cameroon 1-2 Serbia (Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, 45+3 )

Cameroon rocking, and Serbia take full advantage. They fail to clear their lines, Zambo again a guilty party and Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, with a not especially well-hit shot, scores. Epassy culpable? There’s a narrative.

Sergej Milinkovic-Savic fires Serbia into the lead.
Sergej Milinkovic-Savic fires Serbia into the lead. Photograph: Carl Recine/Reuters
Sergej Milinkovic-Savic (right) celebrates his goal with teammates after putting Serbia 2-1 up.
Milinkovic-Savic (right) is happy. Photograph: Kieran McManus/Shutterstock
Serbia’s Sergej Milinkovic-Savic celebrates scoring their second goal with teammates.
As are the Serbian fans. Photograph: Carl Recine/Reuters


Goal! Cameroon 1-1 Serbia (Pavlovic 45+1)

Tadic, the wizard, lays it on a plate, and Zambo perhaps still in pain, fails to jump and the header rockets in.

Serbia's Strahinja Pavlovic scores their equaliser.
Strahinja Pavlovic (fourth left) heads home Serbia’s equaliser. Photograph: Hannah McKay/Reuters


45 min: Six minutes added on…of course.

43 min: Lukic loses the ball to Kunde and Cameroon suddenly have acres of space, and has chance to shoot at Vanja Milinkovic-Savic, but his shot is low, and saved. The rebound falls his way but excitement gets the better of him. Both chances were more than decent for Cameroon. Serbia keep leaving the back door open.

41 min: Cameroon having to go through the last-ditch stuff, as Tadic weaves Lukic to the byline but the ball deflects back out.

39 min: Mitrovic is the target for a ball whacked to the back stick but it’s cleared and then Tadic smashes over, rather uncharacteristically.

38 min: Serbia have badly lost concentration and it call came from that slack pass off for a corner. They try to find a way back, Tadic, as ever, at the centre of matters, but Cameroon are back in numbers.

36 min: André-Frank Zambo Anguissa, the Napoli player, a revelation there, especially to those who remember him at Fulham, has an injury. He soldiers on, but looks to be playing through the pain barrier. His club coach Luciano Spalletti must be looking on in agony.

34 min: All credit, too, to N’Koulou for his adept flick for the Cameroon goal.

32 min: Talking of keepers, Epassy almost fumbles the ball then holds it as Mitrovic lurks with intent.

30 min: It came against the run of play, though it was well-worked, and Serbia paid for being so lax. Every Cameroon squad member came on to celebrate. Though was Onana one of them?

@JohnBrewin_ Get it launched.

— Dan Mason (@_DanMason) November 28, 2022

Goal! Cameroon 1-0 Serbia (Castelletto, 29)

Rigobert Song looks even more disgruntled on the sidelines but his team get an unforced corner from Serbia. And opportunity knocks! The ball is headed back across goal and Castelletto knocks in, reading the flight of the ball, staying onside and poking in! Serbia went to sleep!

Cameroon’s Jean-Charles Castelletto slots home at the far post to open the scoring.
Cameroon’s Jean-Charles Castelletto slots home at the far post to open the scoring. Photograph: Carl Recine/Reuters
Joy for Cameroon players and fans after Jean-Charles Castelletto opened the scoring.
Joy for Cameroon players and fans after Jean-Charles Castelletto opened the scoring. Photograph: Stu Forster/Getty Images


27 min: Still no real pattern of play but Serbia look more likely. Tadic lays the ball centrally to Mitrovic who swings and misses.

25 min: Yellow card for N’Koulou for a facepalm on Zivkovic. It looked a bit soft, accidental. Serbia make nothing of the free-kick when Tadic smashes it over everyone.

23 min: Permanent Manchester United target Sergej Milinkovic-Savic is fouled in midfield. He was always seen as an alternative to Paul Pogba.

20 min: Serbia get the corner clear when Kunde again has a dig from distance. Cameroon are pressing high now, which may open space up elsewhere, and almost does as Serbia go down the other end and force a corner. The ref meanwhile seems to have lost his headset and armband.

Here’s your team for today by the way. And you’d need a minibus for this lot.

  • Referee: Mohammed Abdulla Hassan (UAE)

  • Assistant Referee 1: Mohamed Al-Hammadi (UAE)

  • Assistant Referee 2: Hasan Al-Mahri (UAE)

  • Fourth Official: Ma Ning (CHN)Reserve Assistant Referee: Shi Xiang (CHN)

  • Video Assistant Referee: Nicolas Gallo (COL)

  • Assistant Video Assistant Referee: Juan Soto (VEN)

  • Offside Video Assistant Referee: Ezequiel Brailovsky (ARG)

  • Support Video Assistant Referee: Leodan Gonzalez (URU)

  • Standby Assistant Video Assistant Referee: Gabriel Chade (ARG)

19 min: Mbeumo whips the ball across goal and that was begging to be hit. And yet nobody there. Then Milinkovic-Savic is asked to make a save from Kunde. Chances at both ends? More, please.

17 min: Chance for Mitrovic! Cameroon get in a tangle, failing to clear a ball from the byline, the ball sits up for him and the big man scuffs wide. Oof.

16 min: N’Koulou sees glory from long range but ends up blamming the ball into the Bud Zero concession at the back of the stand.

15 min: No pattern of play to speak of here. Not much play to speak of. It’s been a typical Qatar 2022 first half so far. Hongla makes his belated return to the field.

14 min: Few bumps and bruises out there, players going down all over the show but the heat probably doesn’t speed their getting back up.

12 min: Hongla goes down, felled by Kostic, the Juventus man, such a good player for Eintracht Frankfurt. Rigobert Song looks worried. And somehow cool, though he always looks cool. Hongla leaves the field to receive treatment.

10 min: There’s a bit of afters over a throw-in, and a bit of needle creeping in…oh, here’s Mitrovic, cutting inside, sending Tolo sliding off, and then crashing the ball off the post on the opposite side. That’s what he can do, that mix of silk and steel.

8 min: If you are interested in such things, both teams are playing a variation of 4-3-3, though Mitrovic is playing for further forward in the formation than opposite number Choupo-Moting.

6 min: First chance for Mitrovic, the ball crossed to him by Tadic, and he nods wide. He was probably a bit too far out to trouble the Cameroon goal.

5 min: The first goalkeeper to wobble is not Epassy but Milinkovic-Savic, who makes a mess of pass out and plays it straight to Kunde. Cameroon can’t profit, and Serbia break on the counter.

3 min: From a spy in the stadium, the BBC Radio Manchester reporter Richard Stead: “I’m in a seat in the baking sunshine. Air conditioning under the seat is just making it bearable!”


2 min: Mitrovic is back on, for now. Good news for Fulham, unless he makes it worse by playing on.

1 min: And away we go…, with sun beaming down on the Serbian goal, and now Mitrovic has taken a nasty fall in leaping for the ball. His ankle looked to take the brunt, after he smashed into Hongla. He limps off but is at least able to walk off.

Serbia's Aleksandar Mitrovic receives medical attention after sustaining an injury.
Serbia's Aleksandar Mitrovic receives medical attention after sustaining an injury. Photograph: Fabrizio Bensch/Reuters


Here’s the anthems, Cameroon going first, before Serbia in a stadium claimed by the authorities to be carbon-neutral by being offset. Though does that include the aircon cooling down the pitch?

General view of a giant FIFA World Cup replica trophy and fireworks on the pitch alongside Cameroon and Serbia flags before the match.
Kick-off’s approaching. Photograph: Fabrizio Bensch/Reuters
Young mascots line up during the national anthems in front of Serbia's Dusan Tadic, Vanja Milinkovic-Savic and Strahinja Pavlovic.
Young mascots line up during the national anthems in front of Serbia's Dusan Tadic, Vanja Milinkovic-Savic and Strahinja Pavlovic. Photograph: Hannah McKay/Reuters


With Onana out, all eyes on Devis Epassy, Saudi Pro League club Abha. From the Guardian’s World Cup Player Interactive:

Born in France, Epassy started his career in Rennes’ youth ranks in 2012, and has been on the move since, playing in France, Greece, Spain and, since August, in Saudi Arabia. His international chance has come relatively late in his career: Cameroon’s then goalkeeping coach Jacques Celestin Songo’o approached him two years ago, and he won his first call-up in June 2021. He was solid in his debut – a 0-0 draw with Nigeria – and looks to have secured his spot as André Onana’s deputy, having impressed when covering for him during Onana’s ban. He was part of the squad for the last Africa Cup of Nations, and in his five caps before arriving in Qatar had kept three clean sheets. A very capable understudy.

Important reporting from Paul MacInnes.

It may seem an observation that ought not to have to be made, but the Saudi fanbase in Qatar is made up of both men and women. At Education City on Saturday afternoon, perhaps one in 20 of those making their way into the stadium were female, making them equivalent to the number of women there to support Poland. This is a first.

Three years ago, as part of a series of reforms, a decree from the Saudi royal family announced that women would be allowed to leave the country without first acquiring the consent of their male guardian. The guardianship system remains, and applies to every woman throughout their lives, with the role of guardian transferring from father to husband. But it does not apply in as many aspects as it once did – which means that going to this neighbouring World Cup, for a country that is demonstrably football mad, is now possible for everyone.

Fabrizio Romano has an inside track on Andre Onana’s rather sensational removal from the Cameroon team.

André Onana has been removed from Cameroon’s squad. Been told that the reason is a discussion with head coach as he insisted for different style of goalkeeping, more ‘traditional’ 🇨🇲 #Qatar2022

Onana has no intention to change his style — tense situation & so he’s been excluded.

— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) November 28, 2022

It’s nothing to do with a Michael Crawford revival. Or Steve Harley.

Kári Tulinius gets in touch:” One theme of this World Cup so far is good teams without top class strikers. So it’ll be fascinating to see whether Choupo-Moting or Mitrović step up. Of course, neither is exactly a dependable goalscorer, but the former did net a crucial goal against Algeria in the playoff which took the tie into extra time, and the latter has a half-century of goals in 77 matches for Serbia.”

On Friday, the Football Federation of Kosovo (FFK) submitted a complaint to Fifa, football’s world governing body, over Serbia’s “chauvinistic rhetoric” with the flag seen hanging in their dressing room after the defeat by Brazil.

“Such acts of chauvinism have no place in a sports event, and even less inside the facilities where the biggest event of world football takes place, therefore FFK, as an equal member with all other members of Fifa, demands from this institution to undertake sanctioning measures against actions that incite hatred between peoples and are against human values.”

“It is unacceptable for this act to pass in silence, therefore we strongly request that Fifa strictly implement its rules and punish the football federation of Serbia for this aggressive action and against the values ​​that football conveys.”

Fifa has opened disciplinary proceedings against Serbia’s football association.

Serbia are facing disciplinary action after a nationalist flag was shown hanging in the team locker room.

The flag depicts Kosovo, an independent nation since 2008, as part of Serbia with the slogan: "No Surrender".

— DW Sports (@dw_sports) November 26, 2022

First look at those teams and it’s clear Dusan Vlahovic, one of the best strikers in Serie A, is not fit enough to play the 90 minutes. He’s still nursing a groin problem picked up playing for Juventus. Wing back Filip Kostic was named in the starting side after missing the opening game with a muscle problem.

Cameroon coach have made two changes to the team who lost 1-0 to Switzerland, replacing keeper Andre Onana with Devis Epassy and midfielder Samuel Oum Gouet with Pierre Kunde.

The word on Onana, a big-name player for Cameroon but who has had a troubled time recently, that he’s been dropped for disciplinary reasons.

Here's the teams

Cameroon: Epassy, Fai, Castelletto, N’Koulou, Tolo, Zambo, Kunde, Hongla, Mbeumo, Choupo-Moting, Toko Ekambi. Subs: Ngapandouetnbu, Mbekeli, Wooh, Ondoua, Ngamaleu, Nkoudou, Nsame, Aboubakar, Bassogog, Gouet, Mbaizo, Ntcham, Ebosse, Marou.

Serbia: Vanja Milinkovic-Savic, Milenkovic, Veljkovic, Pavlovic, Zivkovic, Lukic, Maksimovic, Kostic, Tadic, Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, Aleksandar Mitrovic. Subs: Dmitrovic, Erakovic, Radonjic, Gudelj, Jovic, Rajkovic, Stefan Mitrovic, Babic, Vlahovic, Racic, Djuricic, Lazovic, Ilic, Mladenovic, Grujic.

Jonathan Liew aims his intellectual eye at the experience of ‘being there’ in the stadia.

One can sense this from the moment one climbs the steps and emerges into the arena itself, which at this tournament feels less like entering a sporting venue and more like beaming through a portal. Loud, pumping, wall-to-wall music fills every conceivable space and orifice. The tunes stop a few seconds before the game begins and kicks in a second after the whistle blows. On the big screens, adverts for crypto‑trading compete for attention with the booming, rib‑juddering din of the official pitchside announcer, jabbering away like a circus ringmaster.

Here’s today’s World Cup briefing, including a mini-preview of this match.

Both teams must recover from opening defeats and find their first goals of the tournament. Since the glory of their run to the quarter-finals in 1990, Cameroon have not made it out of the group stages while Serbia have never reached the knockouts. Will Dragan Stojkovic play both his star forwards in Dusan Vlahovic and Aleksandar Mitrovic? They spent just 17 second-half minutes together as Brazil ran away with the game in Serbia’s opener. Rigobert Song, the Cameroon coach whose tracksuits have made him a cult hero, must find a way to get service to Eric Choupo-Moting and Bryan Mbeumo in attack. JB

The Serbian coach, the legendary Dragan Stojkovic, also spoke ahead of the game.

We knew the first match with Brazil would be very difficult given that we had personnel problems with injury to some of the key players for us, so this World Cup for Serbia began after the match with Brazil.

It’s an important match against Cameroon given that both them and ourselves have started with a defeat, but that does not diminish our ambitions and objectives for what we wish to achieve and what we expect.

Some Cameroon news ahead of the teams. It seems Samuel Eto’o, who happens to be president of the Cameroon FA has put them under pressure by predicting they would reach the final – against Morocco - and that’s not to the taste of Rigobert Song, the national coach, who has had to deny a rift with his former teammate.

I would say sometimes he even wants to put on the jersey and get out on the pitch to play, because he wants to give everything. But that is not why my players didn’t score against Switzerland. The president is a gentleman who is very supportive.

He was a footballer himself, he lives, breathes and dreams football, but he does not put any burden or stress on our shoulders, no. The president is someone who is easy to talk to, he is open and we communicate a lot.

“It will be a decisive game and we are well prepared. I think you will see a different side to this Cameroon side and we will silence our critics.


After just over a week of football in the Richard & Judy slot, this is the last of the list of matches to chew over with your morning coffee and crossword, not to get all John Motson Japan/Korea 2002 and overuse the breakfast metaphors. But it signals the final day of the second group round of first-round group stages, if you follow that. After their first match, both of these teams really need a win, having lost their openers. Cameroon lost 1-0 to Switzerland, a game notable for the winner being scored by a Cameroon-born lad in Breel Embolo, who delivered a first-rate issue of the non-celebration celebration and STILL got a volley of abuse from the social media trolls. Serbia were meanwhile on the end of Brazil’s coming out party, and having acquitted themselves well enough in defence, stopping Neymar in particular, tired and were on the end of Richarlison’s double.

Win at all costs for both? Not quite, since Brazil are probably expected to beat Switzerland, and that means Serbia can draw this and then hope to beat the Swiss. Cameroon meanwhile could really do with winning this as they have Brazil last of all. Both teams lacked a cutting edge in their opening matches, despite quality attackers in Dusan Tadic and Aleksandar Mitrovic for Serbia and Eric Choupo-Moting and Bryan Mbeumo. It’s been a tight tourney so far in terms of goals, only Spain and England have smashed them in, only to lose that scoring touch in the next game. This feels like it should be – and will be – a tight affair but here’s hoping for a morning classic.

Kick-off is 10am UK time, 1pm Mecca/Qatar time. Join me.


John Brewin

The GuardianTramp

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Dusan Vlahovic primed to help Serbia break new ground at World Cup
Dusan Vlahovic’s gifts were legendary on youth football scene in Belgrade and he is living up to the lofty billing as he prepares to lead Serbia’s World Cup campaign

Nick Ames in Doha

24, Nov, 2022 @7:30 AM

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Breel Embolo’s emotional goal edges Switzerland past wasteful Cameroon
The Cameroon-born striker did not celebrate his second-half finish which handed Switzerland a narrow 1-0 victory to kick off Group G

Louise Taylor at Al Janoub Stadium

24, Nov, 2022 @12:31 PM

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Rigobert Song enjoys his rock star quality as Cameroon take the stage
The Cameroon head coach is a cult figure in his homeland and is in confident mood as his side face Switzerland

Louise Taylor in Doha

24, Nov, 2022 @12:00 AM