Cameroon World Cup Preview & Analysis: Schedule, Roster & Projections
Pictured: Karl Toko Ekambi.
- Cameroon brings an under-the-radar squad to the World Cup.
- Will they be able to surprise some people?
- Read on for a full preview of their team.
The 2022 FIFA World Cup has arrived, and Action Network’s staff of soccer experts are here to take you through each and every team that will be participating.
Read on for a full breakdown of Cameroon ahead of the tournament, and click here for analysis on each of the other 31 teams.
Cameroon World Cup Preview
Cameroon are back in the World Cup for the eighth time in the country’s history. They failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup, but this time around, they were able to erase a 1-0 first leg deficit in a playoff against Algeria with a goal in the 124th minute of extra time to qualify.
This Cameroon team doesn’t have a big name we are used to seeing like Samuel Eto’o, and honestly, the talent level is not that great compared to other teams in their group. They do have a solid goalkeeper in Andre Onana and some fun attacking options like Lyon’s Karl Toko Ekambi and Brentford’s Bryan Mbeumo on the wings, with experienced striking options up top in Vincent Aboubakar and Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting. However, the defense and midfield are major question marks outside of Napoli’s Frank Anguissa, especially considering their three opponents in their group have elite midfields.
|Chances To…||Action Projections||bet365 Odds|
|Win Group Stage||1.60%||+2000|
|Advance To Knockout Round||9.00%||+350|
|Win World Cup||0.03%||+25000|
|Odds as of publish. Action projections by Nick Giffen of the Action Predictive Analytics team.|
Cameroon hosted the Africa Cup of Nations this past January and made it all the way to the semifinals before losing to Egypt. They were impressive during the entire tournament, creating a whopping 12 xG over their six matches while only allowing 4.9. In fact, they held Egypt to just 0.26 xG over 120 minutes before losing on penalties.
The biggest problem with Cameroon is that while their run through the Africa Cup of Nations was impressive on home soil, they only played two countries ranked inside the Action Network’s top 100.
Going up against three top 20 teams in the world is a big ask for Cameroon to reach the knockout stage of the World Cup for the first time since 1990.
Key Player: Karl Toko Ekambi
Toko Ekambi has been a staple in the Cameroon attack for some time now. He made his debut in 2015 and has made 50 appearances, scoring 11 goals. During the Africa Cup of Nations, he scored five goals and created 3.31 xG, which was second only to his teammate, Vincent Aboubakar. Then, during World Cup Qualifying, he led Cameroon with three goals, including the clinching goal against Algeria in the 124th minute of the second leg.
He has been an incredible left winger for Lyon for the past two seasons, as Toko Ekambi has had over a 0.75 xG xAssist rate per 90 minutes, which is in the 91st percentile among Europe’s top five leagues. He has fantastic pace, as he plays well with the ball at his feet but also loves making runs and attacking the penalty area.
Over the past year at Lyon, he’s averaged 6.32 touches in the penalty area per 90 minutes and is receiving 8.26 progressive passes per 90 minutes. He even plays well in the air, winning 1.02 aerial duels per 90 minutes, and during the 2021-22 season, he had a 61.6% aerial duel win percentage.
Depending on what formation manager Rigobert Song decides to play, whether it’s a 3-4-3 or a two-striker system, Ekambi is versatile enough to play up top or at his natural position of left wing.
Cameroon recently made a managerial change, as Song was hired on March 1st after the Africa Cup of Nations. He managed the Cameroon U23 team for four years before taking over as manager and has been in the Cameroon National team’s coaching ranks in some fashion since 2012. Song has been in charge for five matches, including the playoff against Algeria. The good news is Cameroon do have experience sitting in a low block, which is what they did for a large stretch in the second leg against Algeria. However, it’s only a 90-minute sample, and I worry if Cameroon have to play this style for three straight matches.
Cameroon love to build up from the back, playing an intricate style where they like to have over 50% of the ball. During the Africa Cup of Nations, they had 12 build-up attacks and 78 10+ pass sequences, both of which were by far the most in the tournament, per the Analyst.
They also held over 50% possession in every single match. That is not going to happen in this group with Belgium, Serbia and Switzerland, so it will be interesting to see if Song decides to opt for Cameroon’s natural 3-4-3 or go with the 4-4-2 he deployed against Algeria.
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Cameroon World Cup Schedule
|Switzerland||5 a.m. ET, Nov. 24|
|Serbia||5 a.m. ET, Nov. 28|
|Brazil||2 p.m. ET, Dec. 2|
Most Recent World Cup Result
Fourth Place, Group Stage (2014)
Cameroon were outmatched in the group stage at the 2014 World Cup, scoring one goal and conceding nine in matches against Mexico, Croatia and Brazil.