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Roger Milla's presence at World Cup shows what Cameroon are missing

Roger Milla's presence at World Cup shows what Cameroon are missing

November 24, 2022 (AFP)

The sight of Roger Milla on the pitch before Cameroon lost 1-0 to Switzerland on Thursday only underlined the ineffectiveness of the west Africans' attack in their first match of the Qatar World Cup. 

Milla is etched into World Cup history for the goals that propelled Cameroon to the quarter-finals of Italia 1990, winning hearts with his smile and joyous hip-wiggling celebration.

Four years later, Milla appeared at the World Cup Finals in 1994 in the United States. Despite being 42, when most players have long since retired, he scored again and his goal against Russia makes him -- still -- the oldest player to ever score in a World Cup Finals.

That was why Milla, now 70, was at the Al Janoub Stadium to receive a special award from FIFA.

In the stands was another Cameroon goalscoring hero of the past, Samuel Eto'o, the former Barcelona star who now heads his country's football federation.

Cameroon's current crop of forwards found goals harder to come by against the well-organised Swiss.

Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting is a journeyman striker whose career has taken him most notably to Schalke in Germany, then Stoke in England, before the glamour of Paris Saint-Germain and now Bayern Munich.

He has scored 11 times for Bayern this season, but his touch deserted him in the desert.

The gangling 33-year-old forward's best dribble of the game left him in an difficult angle and only able to blast the ball at Swiss 'keeper Yann Sommer.

Bryan Mbeumo, a stocky winger who is dwarfed by Choupo-Moting, played for France's under-21 side before switching allegiance to the west Africans.

Mbeumo, a key part of Premier League side Brentford's team, was an energetic handful for the Swiss defenders in the first half.

He had a clear chance, blasting a powerful shot that Sommer could only parry, only for Karl Toko Ekambi to somehow hit the rebound over the bar from close range.

Like Choupo-Moting, Mbeumo was substituted in the second half.

To rub salt into Cameroon's wounds, Swizterland's scorer Breel Embolo was born in Cameroon.


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Group Stage

Group A
Nov 20, 11:00amAl Khor
Qatar 0 - 2 Ecuador
Nov 21, 11:00amDoha
Senegal 0 - 2 Netherlands
Nov 25, 8:00amDoha
Qatar 1 - 3 Senegal
Nov 25, 11:00amAl Rayyan
Netherlands 1 - 1 Ecuador
Nov 29, 10:00amAl Rayyan
Ecuador 1 - 2 Senegal
Nov 29, 10:00amAl Khor
Netherlands 2 - 0 Qatar
Group B
Nov 21, 8:00amAl Rayyan
England 6 - 2 Iran
Nov 21, 2:00pmAl Rayyan
USA 1 - 1 Wales
Nov 25, 5:00amAl Rayyan
Wales 0 - 2 Iran
Nov 25, 2:00pmAl Rayyan
England 0 - 0 USA
Nov 29, 2:00pmDoha
Iran 0 - 1 USA
Nov 29, 2:00pmAl Rayyan
Wales 0 - 3 England
Group C
Nov 22, 5:00amLusail
Argentina 1 - 2 Saudi Arabia
Nov 22, 11:00amDoha
Mexico 0 - 0 Poland
Nov 26, 8:00amAl Rayyan
Poland 2 - 0 Saudi Arabia
Nov 26, 2:00pmLusail
Argentina 2 - 0 Mexico
Nov 30, 2:00pmDoha
Poland vs Argentina
Nov 30, 2:00pmLusail
Saudi Arabia vs Mexico
Group D
Nov 22, 8:00amAl Rayyan
Denmark 0 - 0 Tunisia
Nov 22, 2:00pmAl Wakrah
France 4 - 1 Australia
Nov 26, 5:00amAl Wakrah
Tunisia 0 - 1 Australia
Nov 26, 11:00amDoha
France 2 - 1 Denmark
Nov 30, 10:00amAl Wakrah
Australia vs Denmark
Nov 30, 10:00amAl Rayyan
Tunisia vs France
Group E
Nov 23, 8:00amAl Rayyan
Germany 1 - 2 Japan
Nov 23, 11:00amDoha
Spain 7 - 0 Costa Rica
Nov 27, 5:00amAl Rayyan
Japan 0 - 1 Costa Rica
Nov 27, 2:00pmAl Khor
Spain 1 - 1 Germany
Dec 1, 2:00pmAl Khor
Costa Rica vs Germany
Dec 1, 2:00pmAl Rayyan
Japan vs Spain
Group F
Nov 23, 5:00amAl Khor
Morocco 0 - 0 Croatia
Nov 23, 2:00pmAl Rayyan
Belgium 1 - 0 Canada
Nov 27, 8:00amDoha
Belgium 0 - 2 Morocco
Nov 27, 11:00amAl Rayyan
Croatia 4 - 1 Canada
Dec 1, 10:00amDoha
Canada vs Morocco
Dec 1, 10:00amAl Rayyan
Croatia vs Belgium
Group G
Nov 24, 5:00amAl Wakrah
Switzerland 1 - 0 Cameroon
Nov 24, 2:00pmLusail
Brazil 2 - 0 Serbia
Nov 28, 5:00amAl Wakrah
Cameroon 3 - 3 Serbia
Nov 28, 11:00amDoha
Brazil 1 - 0 Switzerland
Dec 2, 2:00pmLusail
Cameroon vs Brazil
Dec 2, 2:00pmDoha
Serbia vs Switzerland
Group H
Nov 24, 8:00amAl Rayyan
Uruguay 0 - 0 Korea Republic
Nov 24, 11:00amDoha
Portugal 3 - 2 Ghana
Nov 28, 8:00amAl Rayyan
Korea Republic 2 - 3 Ghana
Nov 28, 2:00pmLusail
Portugal 2 - 0 Uruguay
Dec 2, 10:00amAl Wakrah
Ghana vs Uruguay
Dec 2, 10:00amAl Rayyan
Korea Republic vs Portugal
Knockout Stage

Round of 16
Dec 3, 10:00amAl Rayyan
Netherlands vs USA
Dec 3, 2:00pmAl Rayyan
1st Group C vs 2nd Group D
Dec 4, 10:00amDoha
1st Group D vs 2nd Group C
Dec 4, 2:00pmAl Khor
England vs Senegal
Round of 16
Dec 5, 10:00amAl Wakrah
1st Group E vs 2nd Group F
Dec 5, 2:00pmDoha
1st Group G vs 2nd Group H
Dec 6, 10:00amAl Rayyan
1st Group F vs 2nd Group E
Dec 6, 2:00pmLusail
1st Group H vs 2nd Group G
Quarter Final
Dec 9, 10:00amAl Rayyan
Winner Match 53 vs Winner Match 54
Dec 9, 2:00pmLusail
Winner Match 49 vs Winner Match 50
Dec 10, 10:00amDoha
Winner Match 55 vs Winner Match 56
Dec 10, 2:00pmAl Khor
Winner Match 51 vs Winner Match 52
Semi-final
Dec 13, 2:00pmLusail
Winner Quarter-final 1 vs Winner Quarter-final 2
Dec 14, 2:00pmAl Khor
Winner Quarter-final 3 vs Winner Quarter-final 4
Third place match
Dec 17, 10:00amAl Rayyan
Loser Semi-final 1 vs Loser Semi-final 2
Final