Winning start important for Swiss and Cameroon

Winning start important for Swiss and Cameroon
Cameroon's head coach Rigobert Song (R) attends a training session of the national soccer team in preparation for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 in Ar-Rayyan, near Doha, Qatar, 21 November 2022. EPA/LAURENT GILLIERON

by Staff Reporter

Wednesday Nov 23, 2022. 13:00

Switzerland and Cameroon face-off at the Al Janoub Stadium in Al Wakrah on Thursday knowing a win will put them in good stead for their respective World Cup Group G campaigns.

Kick-off is at 12pm CAT (SA, GMT+2)

The Indomitable Lions will be seeking their first win in the opening round of the tournament since 1990 when they beat defending champions Argentina 1-0 before going on to become the first African team to reach the quarter-finals.

However, the central African giants have failed to pick up three points in their opening game at the tournament in five subsequent appearances, which all resulted in group-stage exits.

After missing out on the 2018 edition in Russia, Rigobert Song’s side will be looking to make an impression on the Arabian Peninsula, although their recent form hasn’t been great.

Concerns have been expressed about their defence after Cameroon shipped a goal in each of their last four friendlies, none of which brought them victory.

But Nantes defender Jean-Charles Castelletto has moved to ease any lingering doubts, insisting the five-time African champions can overcome any obstacles if they remain united.

“Together we all bring what we have to the team. Together we are always stronger. I hope that your concerns will be extinguished during these matches. We win and we lose together,” Castelletto said.

The Swiss find themselves in the same group as Brazil and Serbia once more, having also been drawn together four years ago.

Getting off to a good start will be paramount for Murat Yakin’s side in their bid to reach the last 16 for the third time running at the global showpiece.

Switzerland performed well in the UEFA Nations League this season despite being placed in a tough group alongside Spain and Portugal, and they won three of their six matches to finish narrowly behind the two Iberian rivals.

Their final warm-up game against Ghana last Thursday ended in a disappointing 2-0 defeat and Yakin acknowledged that his players struggled in the Abu Dhabi heat but stressed that the result wouldn’t affect their mindset for the World Cup.

“It was extremely warm. It is clear that the players have not yet acclimatised,” he said. “We played very well for 60 minutes. Then it is clear that the tiredness has come. Such a defeat does not throw us off track. We know what we can do.”

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