Cameroon World Cup 2022 guide: Key players, injuries, tactics & tournament prediction

Cameroon have a rich World Cup history
Cameroon have a rich World Cup history / Briony Painter / 90min

Cameroon were the first African country to make a big splash in the World Cup knockout stages when they reached the quarter-finals in 1990, a golden generation spearheaded by Roger Milla.

The Indomitable Lions have been one of Africa's leading lights ever since, with 2022 now their eighth appearance on the global stage despite never qualifying prior to 1982.

However, they lost all three games in both 2010 and 2014 and haven't actually won a World Cup game since beating Saudi Arabia way back in 2002. The only way is surely up after FIFA ranked them 32nd out of 32 teams in their last appearance eight years ago, although it will be a huge challenge again.

No wins since June isn't ideal preparation, although qualifying at the expense of a strong Algeria side was certainly a big deal for the team and national hero head coach Rigobert Song, who only took over in February, between the Africa Cup of Nations and the crunch two-legged Algeria tie.

When are Cameroon's group games?

  • Switzerland vs Cameroon (November 24, 10:00 GMT)
  • Cameroon vs Serbia (November 28, 10:00 GMT)
  • Cameroon vs Brazil (December 2, 19:00 GMT)
  • Switzerland vs Cameroon H2H record: Played 0
  • Cameroon vs Serbia H2H record: Played 1, Lost 1
  • Cameroon vs Brazil H2H record: Played 6, Won 1, Lost 5

Who is in Cameroon's confirmed 26-player squad for the World Cup?

Goalkeepers: Simon Ngapandouetnbu (Marseille), Devis Epassy (Abha), Andre Onana (Inter)

Defenders: Jerome Ngom Mbekali (APEJES), Nicolas Nkoulou (Aris), Christopher Wooh (Rennes), Olivier Mbazo (Philadelphia Union), Collins Fai (Al-Tai), Jean-Charles Castelletto (Nantes), Enzo Ebosse (Udinese), Nouhou Tolo (Seattle Sounders)

Midfielders: Gael Ondoua (Hannover), Georges-Kevin Nkoudou (Besiktas), Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa (Napoli), Samuel Gouet (Mechelen), Pierre Kunde (Olympiacos), Martin Hongla (Hellas Verona), Olivier Ntcham (Swansea), Souaibou Marou (Coton Sport)

Forwards: Moumi Ngamaleu (Dynamo Moscow), Jean-Pierre Nsame (Young Boys), Vincent Aboubakar (Al-Nassr), Christian Bassogog (Shanghai Shenhua), Karl Toko Ekambi (Lyon), Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting (Bayern Munich), Bryan Mbeumo (Brentford),

Which Cameroon players are missing the World Cup through injury?

Cameroon haven't had to deal with the same injury concerns as other nations. Song has left out a handful of experienced internationals who have been in recent squads - including 53-cap Michael Ngadeu, 50-cap George Mandjeck and 42-cap Clinton N'Jie - but not because of injury.

Who are Cameroon's best players?

Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa is shining brightly at Napoli
Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa is shining brightly at Napoli / KONTROLAB/GettyImages

Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa

The former Fulham midfielder has been smashing for Napoli in Serie A and the Champions League this season, and is over a brief injury layoff that forced him to miss three games in October.

He showed in a 4-1 Napoli thrashing of Liverpool in September exactly what he is capable of, bossing the game and buzzing all over the pitch. That will be crucial for Cameroon in Qatar if they are to have a chance of competing with Serbia and Switzerland in particular.

Karl Toko Ekambi

The 30-year-old seems to have got better with age, constantly proving himself over the years each time he has stepped up to a new level. At the time of Cameroon's last World Cup apperance, he was playing in France's third tier but has gradually progressed with Angers, Villarreal and now Lyon.

Ekambi also scored the goal that gave Cameroon their ticket to Qatar in the first place. He netted in the 124th minute against Algeria in Algiers to win the tie on away goals after the hosts had scored what looked like it was going to be the winner in the 118th minute.

Bryan Mbeumo

Brentford's star played youth international football for France and only declared himself available for Cameroon this year, qualifying through his father's family. He represents the drive from Samuel Eto'o, head of the national federation, to recruit dual nationality players.

Mbeumo has scored seven Premier League goals since the start of last season, proving himself in an elite competition and is particularly noted for his partnership with Ivan Toney at club level.

Andre Onana

With a regrettable and avoidable long-term drug ban finally behind him, Onana has got his club career back on track since starting a new chapter with Inter. He got the nod over Samir Handanovic in the Champions League in September and has since commanded a place in Serie A too.

The goalkeeper was a key member of the Ajax team that got to within a kick of the 2019 Champions League final and has only missed one Cameroon game since his ban expired a year ago.

Cameroon predicted starting lineup

Song's Cameroon has the tactical flexibility to operate in either a 4-4-2 or 4-3-3 system, typically in the latter with wide forwards flanking central striker Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting.

Cameroon predicted XI: Onana; Ebosse, Castelletto, Nkoulou, Fai; Ntcham, Zamboa Aguissa, Gouet; Mbeumo, Choupo-Moting, Ekambi

Cameroon's form going into the World Cup

Cameroon suffered back-to-back defeats to Uzbekistan and South Korea in September, although they were unbeaten over 90 or 120 minutes at the Africa Cup of Nations at the start of the year - only a semi-final penalty shootout defeat to Egypt ended their hopes of continental glory.

The second leg of the World Cup playoff against Algeria also showed their grit to grab a decisive goal deep into stoppage time in extra-time.

Cameroon's last five results (all competitions)

  • Algeria 1-2 Cameroon
  • Burundi 0-1 Cameroon
  • Cameroon 0-2 Uzbekistan
  • South Korea 1-0 Cameroon
  • Cameroon 1-1 Jamaica

Where will Cameroon finish in the World Cup?

Cameroon could hardly have asked for a tougher group and that is a problem. This squad also lacks the same star quality of past generations, with captain Vincent Aboubakar arguably past his best and only a couple of players considered regulars for Champions League level clubs.

Expect Brazil to win the group and Serbia and Switzerland to battle it out for second place, making it tough for Cameroon to even get a look in.

Prediction: Group stage exit