What a match!!! That was my 1st reaction when it ended. It was a match of opposites. Fluid Mexico vs Solid Cameroon. Cameroon had the upper hand of bigger names in their line up and did not dissappoint, although fans would have felt let down by their aging stars. Mexico on the other hand were riding on the names of their individual forward line up and they sizzled on a rain drenched day. Mexico looked like they were in control of the match for most part but Cameroon were just every where.
The refereeing has been dodgy in both matches so far with Mexico being disallowed 2 goals which were extremely marginal. The disallowed goal from Cameroon was a little more direct but the linesmen were just a little too strict and the referee interrupting the free flowing nature of the game too often. Overall a good match which showed that all 4 teams have it in them to ensure that Brazil does not have an easy path into the next round.
CAMEROON – Well the whole Cameroon team functioned well as a unit and each player pulled his weight (or size!!). Song was solid as always in the center of the midfield. He seemed to just find it a little difficult to keep up with the fast paced flanking attack that the Mexicans were using against them. His style is more suited to a controlled central play which he did manage to implement whenever Cameroon had the ball. Eto on the other hand was a disappointment. The star striker who captured the worlds imagination in the club level with teams fighting it out to sign him just did not show any spark that makes him the truly remarkable player that he truly is. My star player for the Cameroon team has to be the highly unknown Benoît Assou-Ekotto who just got promoted to the Premier League with his club team QPR. He managed to stem out attacks from the extremely “hyper” Moreno and Aquillar. He also managed a few penetrating runs and passes resulting in one of Cameroons best chances. He seems to have the quality to keep Neymar under check.
MEXICO – Now this team is something. All round performance. One of the most complete teams that I have seen in recent times. I was disappointed with the fact that Chicharito a.k.a Javier Hernandez dint get much of a look in. I hoped he would be one of the stars of the match but his impact was limited. Moreno was definitely a highlight. He defended brilliantly and more so because he marked Samuel Eto so much that Eto became a non entity. Layun was also wonderfully competent in his role and almost took the whole Cameroon defense by surprise early on with his runs on the left flank. Peralta scored the goal but the prolific pla
yer was a mere shadow of himself most of the match. My best player of the team was Dos Santos. Unfortunate to have 2 of his goals disallowed due to questionable offsides but he was the architect of Mexico’s attack. He also had a role in the goal they finally scored.The young guns are firing!!
On the whole a match between 2 strategies. One thing that picked my interest was Cameroon’s “Linear Defense”. Whenever you see them defending they manage to keep a straight line. Using that solidity to convert into a centralized attack. The game got very rough in the second half with both teams trying very hard to snatch those all important 3 points.
I am a huge advocate of maintaining the fluidity of the game and giving the advantage to the attacking team. Keeping that in mind, the refereeing was a little too textbook. Although the end result was not affected, the game could have been more exciting with the goals scored. Mexico should be a little careful because teams will pick up the fact that their attack is extremely flank based.