Breel Embolo was the match-winner in Group G’s opening game, as Switzerland beat Cameroon 1-0.
Cameroon had several good chances to take a first-half lead, with the African side starting the match very much on the front foot.
Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting missed a big opportunity after 14 minutes, breaking through the Swiss back line but seeing his shot saved by goalkeeper Yann Sommer.
Minutes before, Karl Toko Ekambi had also been prevented with a goalscoring chance but failed to convert.
Switzerland defender Steven Widmer then put in a great last-ditch tackle midway through the second half, preventing Toko Ekambi from almost certainly scoring.
The Swiss then had two chances themselves to score just before the break. Near-identical inswinging Ruben Vargas corners caused problems for the Cameroon defence, with Nico Elvedi and Manuel Akanji sending headers wide of the post.
Embolo struck for Switzerland early in the second half after good work from former Liverpool man Xherdan Shaqiri. The Swiss forward scored against the country of his birth, with muted celebrations following.
Switzerland appeared to take initiative after the opening goal and it took an instinctive save from Andre Onana after a close-range Vargas effort to keep the score at 1-0 on 66 minutes. Embolo then went very close from the resulting corner, only a key interception from Andre-Frank Anguissa preventing the Monaco forward from adding a second goal.
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The key moment from Switzerland vs Cameroon
It would be easy to say Embolo’s goal and perhaps in reality, that is the case.
But Widmer’s crucial interception to prevent Toko Ekambi from scoring after Collins Fai’s low cross into the Swiss box proved to be the turning point in the match. It prevented Switzerland from going 1-0 down after a period of Cameroon pressure and after that, the European side gained control of the match.
Great defending is not appreciated often enough but this from Widmer is worthy of spotlighting.
Player of the match — Breel Embolo
Giving his side a win in a crucial game with Brazil on the horizon sees the former Borussia Monchengladbach striker win this accolade — despite Widmer’s heroics.
Switzerland vs Cameroon key statistic
Shaqiri has now been involved in 50 per cent of Switzerland’s 24 goals at their last last four major tournaments. Truly a man for the world stage.
50% – Xherdan Shaqiri has been directly involved in exactly half of Switzerland’s 24 goals across their last four appearances at major tournaments (EUROS + World Cup), scoring eight goals and assisting a further four. Key. #SUICMR #FIFAWorldCup pic.twitter.com/ZmD5rb8KaW
— OptaFranz (@OptaFranz) November 24, 2022
What does it mean?
Switzerland are in a good position heading into their next game. Winning is a great feeling and the Swiss can be buoyed by their second half performance.
For Cameroon, it means they now almost certainly need to win their next fixture to stand a chance of progressing to the next round. It also means that no African side has yet won or scored at the World Cup yet — no pressure Ghana!
Switzerland face a tough game against World Cup favourites Brazil on Monday, November 28. That kicks off at 4pm GMT/11am ET/8am PT.
Cameroon, meanwhile, take on Serbia three hours earlier.
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(Photo: Getty Images)