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Croatia 4 Cameroon 0 - Highlights, key battles and what the result means

Published on Jun 19, 2014 8:28 AM
 

Roger Milla's swaying hips 24 years ago now seems a distant memory as Cameroon were sent crashing out of the World Cup in disgrace after losing 4-0 to Croatia in Manaus.

The 1990 vintage enchanted a global audience with their courage and dashing football but the class of 2014 squabbled over bonuses, fought opponents on the pitch and ultimately, fought each other on live television as their campaign ended up in a mushroom cloud.

As for Croatia, they bounced back in style after their opening day defeat by Brazil. Niko Kovac's men played with a swagger and were merciless in dismantling a Cameroon in disarray.

Highlights

Cameroon left-back Benoit Assou-Ekotto (right) headbutted team-mate Benjamin Moukandjo (left) and both men had to be separated by Pierre Webo in their team's 4-0 World Cup defeat by Croatia. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

- Hardworking striker Ivica Olic taps home Dario Srna's cross from the right in the 11th minute. It is his first World Cup finals goal since scoring against Italy in the 2002 edition.

- Cameroon's collapse started in the 39th min when midfielder Alex Song elbowed Mario Mandzukic in the back in an off-the-ball incident and earned a straight red card. He now has the unwanted distinction of joining his uncle, former Liverpool defender Rigobert Song, in getting sent-off at the World Cup finals.

- Further goals from Ivan Perisic (48th) and Mario Mandzukic (61st and 73rd) sealed the three points for Croatia.

- The was more controversy for the Indomitable Lions when Benoit Assou-Ekotto headbutted team-mate Benjamin Moukandjo in the dying minutes during an argument.

Key battle

Luka Modric vs Alex Song

It is Croatia vs Cameroon and at club level, Real Madrid vs Barcelona, for these two midfielders.

Modric pulls the strings for the European side while Song patrols the engine room and his main task would be to shut the playmaker down.

But Song's moment of madness handed Modric all the freedom he needed to play through balls behind Cameroon's backline and made sure of Croatia's crushing win.

Man of the Match

He was sorely missed in the 3-1 defeat by Brazil where his aggression, aerial power and clinical finishing might have made a difference.

But Mario Mandzukic, who returned from suspension, made up for it with a brace and underlined his importance to Croatia.

The first was a typical powerful header from the striker off a corner and he was at his predatory best to loiter onside for an easy tap-in for the fourth goal.

His timely return and scoring form will be bad news for Mexico and on a personal level, he is set to leave Bayern Munich. This display against Cameroon will have inflated his market value even further.

What the result means

For Cameroon, it is clear as day - The Indomitable Lions are going home, where they are likely to be savaged by their own fans for the disgraceful manner of their exit.

Croatia have fought back to put their World Cup fate back into their own hands. They face Mexico next Tuesday in Recife where the winner will move on to the next stage.

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