Cameroon join Spain and Australia on the plane home from Brazil as goals from Olic, Peresic and a Mandzukic double seal their fate after Alex Song sees red for violent conduct.
Following Spain’s elimination from the competition at the hands of Chile, both sides were aiming to avoid the same fate as Vincent Del Bosque’s side and needed to get their first points on the board as both sides had lost their opening games of the tournament.
Croatia went into the game feeling somewhat hard done by in their first match as a string of decisions went against them throughout their 3-1 defeat to host Brazil in the opening game, this wasn’t help when photographers got into their camp and snapped a few of the players in the nude and published them, sparking a media blackout.
Samuel Eto’o who has claimed there is a conspiracy against him started on the bench as Cameroon had the better of the early chances, having a shot cleared off the line from a corner and a free kick deep in the Croatian half which was cleared by Panathinaikos defender Danijel Pranjic.
It was Croatia who took the lead with their first real chance after 10 minutes. Olic got onto a loose ball from (name) and made no mistake putting the ball past the Cameroon keeper, becoming the first Croatian to score in 2 World Cups and handing his side a life line. They almost doubled their lead as some shambolic defending from Cameroon from a corner saw a header get cleared from the goal line as the nerves started to set in for the African Nation.
Things went from bad to worse as former Arsenal man Alexandre Song was given a straight red card for elbowing Bayern Munich’s Mario Mandzukic who was starting his first game of this tournament after serving the last game of his ban.
Cameroon struggled for there on after, as they didn’t register a single shot on target after Song’s dismissal as they struggled to get back into the game and take the game to Croatia, who hardly had to get out of second gear throughout most of the second half.
Croatia Doubled their lead 2 minutes into the second half, as Peresic beat his man on the wing and made his way into the box, putting his shot past the keeper’s near post and with that sending Cameroon packing.
Croatia weren’t finished as Mandukic found his way clear of the defence and one on one with the keeper, the Bayern striker putting his effort just wide of the goal. After scoring 18 goals in the Bundesliga this season he would have expected his chance to go in.
As the pressure was pile on it was only a matter of time before their lead was further increased when Mandzukic headed in from a corner after Croatia piled on the pressure throughout the second half. He climbed up the highest in the box and put the ball into the bottom corner, leaving the former Liverpool keeper Itanjde powerless to prevent his side falling further behind.
He doubled his tally in the 72nd minute as Itanjde parried Eduardo’s shot straight into the Munich striker’s path, leaving him with the easiest of finishes to well and truly put the game to bed.
Cameroon tried to get a constellation goal throughout the second half but most of their efforts went high and wide, not even challenging the Croatian keeper, who would have been better off bringing a good book onto the pitch with him as to keep him amused.
Croatia almost made it five in the dying embers of the game. The ball falling to Barcelona new boy Rakitic, The former Sevilla midfielder putting the ball wide of the goal wasting the chance to score his first World Cup goal for his nation.
With this loss, Cameroon joins Australia and Cup Holders Spain on the place home. They also become the first side since Switzerland in 1966 to lose 6 or more consecutive World Cup games. As for Croatia, this was the first time they managed to score 4 goals in a World Cup game. They now must win their final game against Mexico to progress into the knock out stages.