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FIFA World Cup 2022: Cameroon and Serbia challenged in a duel

A win is almost a must for the Africans around team boss Rigobert Song, as the Brazilians are waiting in the final group game. In any case, the dream of the semi-finals, which has been expressed with great enthusiasm, is in danger, but has not yet been written off. “We believe in our dream,” affirmed Song on Sunday. When asked whether the team would also play for their personal future on Monday, the coach, whose contract is expiring, dodged. “We have our backs to the wall. But it will be settled after the tournament,” he said.

The problem: The Cameroon team is very inexperienced and played solidly against Switzerland, but remained much too harmless. Bayern striker Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting, who had two good chances, was also rarely seen. For Cameroon it is also about improving their own World Cup statistics. Since Roger Milla led the Africans to the quarter-finals in 1990, they have won just one in 16 World Cup games: in 2002 against Saudi Arabia, captained by Song and federation president Samuel Eto’o as the only goalscorer.

IMAGO/Action Plus/John Patrick Fletcher

Bayern striker Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting also needs to step up to keep Cameroon in contention

Song: “I’m a Miracle”

Song, meanwhile, is aware of the importance of his participation in the World Cup. “I’m a miracle,” said the Cameroon national coach. On October 2, 2016, the then 40-year-old collapsed in his house near Yaounde. The diagnosis: stroke. Song was placed in an induced coma, then flown to Paris for surgery. Shortly before Christmas he reported back to the public in an interview with the French sports newspaper “L’Equipe”. And explained that he had practically no consequential damage.

“I really came back from a long way,” said the once-hard defender, who also played against Austria at the 1998 World Cup. He was lucky that a visitor found him. “My blood pressure was 25,” he said. “Luckily I fell on my side and my tongue was hanging out.” His first thought was of Marc-Vivien Foe – his team-mate who died on the field in an international match in Lyon in 2003.

FIFA World Cup 2022, Group G

Monday, 11 a.m., live on ORF1:

Cameroon – Serbia

Al-Wakra, Al Janoub Stadium, SR Hassan/VAE

Possible lineups:

Cameroon: Face – Fai, Castelletto, Squirrel, Ear – Sweet, Oum Gouet, Anxiety, Hongla, Toko-Ekambi – Choupo-Moting

Serbia: V. Milinkovic-Savic – Milenkovic, Veljkovic, Pavlovic – Lazovic, Lukic, Mladenovic – Tadic, S. Milinkovic-Savic – Vlahovic, A. Mitrovic

FIFA is investigating against Serbia

For the Serbs, after the defeat against Brazil, when team boss Dragan Stojkovic’s team had successfully kept the zero for more than an hour, the sporting aspect receded a little into the background. Once again, a nationalist theme overshadowed the national team, with FIFA investigating the Serbian association over a chauvinist flag that was apparently photographed in the players’ dressing room.

Because the outlines of Kosovo can also be seen under the Serbian national colors, the Kosovan association FFK asked FIFA to sanction the Serbs. “The World Cup is an event of joy and unity, it should send messages of hope and peace, not messages of hate,” the association tweeted. Serbs continue to regard Kosovo as part of their country, despite independence since 2008.

Stojkovic declined to comment on the cause. “Next question,” said the team boss several times during a corresponding question from a journalist on Sunday. The photo was apparently taken in the dressing room before the Brazil game. No player can be seen, but the flag hangs over the shirts and lockers of defender Milos Veljkovic and midfielder Andrija Zivkovic.

Also sporting worries

In terms of sport, the Serbs, who didn’t come into their own against the “Selecao” in the second half, also have enough worries. Points are essential against Cameroon, and important players like Filip Kostic or 80-million striker Dusan Vlahovic are fighting for their fitness. Kostic recently took part in units with the team again, according to Stojkovic. “I don’t know if he’ll play yet. But he is fit.”

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