●Switzerland 1-0 Cameroon
●Uruguay – South Korea
●Portugal – Ghana
●Brazil – Serbia
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Brel Embolo scored against his country of birth as Switzerland beat Cameroon 1-0 to kick off their World Cup campaign on Thursday with a win.
Embolo scored in the third minute of the second half at Al Yanoub Stadium as Switzerland scored a vital three points in a group that included tournament favorites Brazil and Serbia.
Cameroon have lost their last eight World Cup matches since 2002. Roger Milla was awarded before kick-off as the oldest scorer in World Cup history, a reminder of Cameroon’s past glory, having won just one game since reaching the quarter-finals 32 years ago.
Cameroonian coach Rigobert Song, who has played in four World Cups, including with 42-year-old Milla in 1994, chose a fit Eric Maxime Choupo-Moting to take the lead in place of the usual captain Vincent Abubakar.
African teams got off to an encouraging start in Qatar after all five failed to make it past the group stage in 2018, but Cameroon will regret not being able to do better in the first half they controlled.
Brian Mbeumo shot Yann Sommer after a great pass from Martin Khongla before Carl Toko Ekambi hit the rebound.
Sommer then landed to save from Choupo-Moting after he took the ball away from Manuel Akanji, although a questionable foul was dealt to the Bayern Munich striker.
Sylvan Widmer made a vital call to stop Toko Ekambi turning Collins Faye’s cross and Sommer deflected a weak shot from Khongla.
Akanji looked wide into the corner as Cameroon blacked out at half time, but there was no such rescue when they were caught dozing again early in the second half.
Granit Xhaka and Remo Freuler passed the ball from the right to Xherdan Shaqiri, whose low cross into the box was given by the unnamed Embolo, who chose not to celebrate the victory over his homeland.
Choupo-Moting neatly edged around a couple of defenders in the box, but was unable to beat Sommer from a tight angle.
Andre Onana kept Cameroon in the game with a brilliant stoppage to keep out Ruben Vargas, who was completely free in an almost replica of Embolo’s goal.
Only a desperate block prevented Haris Seferovic from adding a late second. Song said the rankings meant nothing to compete in the tournament, but Cameroon’s eighth World Cup match was in danger of being short with upcoming games against Serbia and Brazil.