Cameroon v Croatia
We have starting team news and have a preview as Cameroon meet Croatia in this Group A clash. Both sides need a win as they both suffered defeats in their opening games. Croatia will be expected to get past the African side who are expected to be without captain Samuel Eto’o. Kick-off from Arena Amazônia, Manaus is at 11.00.
Croatia lost their opening encounter to hosts Brazil in a contest where they where unfortunate to lose the game. A contentious penalty decision proving crucial to the outcome of the game, which they eventually lost 3-1. They will be happy with their performance in the game especially of Rakitic and Modric who especially in the second half controlled the tempo of the game. Cameroon also suffered a defeat and they will need to improve as Mexico were well worth their 1-0 and 2 Giovanni Dos Santos goals were controversially disallowed.
The Barcelona midfielder is now one of their more experienced players and with the loss of Samuel Eto’o his experience will be even more crucial. The former Arsenal will be joined by Stephane Mbia in midfield and they will be up against Ivan Rakitic and Luka Modric in a battle which should be crucial to the outcome of the game. Song is the nephew of former Liverpool and Cameroon captain Rigobert Song.
Modric is just off the back of a very successful campaign at Real Madrid winning the Copa Del Rey and the Champions League. The Real Madrid midfielder announced himself on the international stage back in 2008 when he was included in the Euro 2008 “Team of the Tournament”.. Modric began to impose himself in the 2nd half against Brazil and Croatia will hope that he along with Rakitic can provide the platform to dominate possession against Cameroon.
Cameroon are without striker and team captain Samuel Eto’o. They line out as follows.
Cameroon: Itandje, Assou-Ekotto, Nkoulou (c), Song, Moukandjo, Aboubakar, Choupo Moting, Chedjou, Mbia, Enoh, Matip.
Croatia bring in Bayern Munich striker Mario Mandzukic. Hull City striker Nikica Jelavic is misses out
Croatia: Pletikosa, Pranjic, Perisic, Corluka, Lovren, Rakitic, Modric, Srna (c), Mandzukic, Olic, Sammir.
If Croatia perform as they did in the 2nd half against Brazil they should have too much quality for this Cameroon team. The loss of Samuel Eto’o deniers them a proven striker upfront while Croatia welcome back Mario Mandzukic who should provide them with more firepower. I expect Croatia to win this one maybe on a score line of 2-0. Croatia to win 2-0 is 13/2 with boylesports in what looks an appealing bet.