As I round off an energised night on a high, here is the final blog feed now live as the match has now begun. I’ll be using BBC Sport to mainly look at and also update this blog post over the 90-minute time period (excl. Half-Time & Full-Time).
Cameroon 0-4 Croatia
Tom Rostance: “Under way in Manaus… Cameroon start the brighter of the two sides but they waste a free-kick from wide on the right-hand side. Eric Choupo Moting then does well to find space inside the area and win a corner.”
Former Cardiff City Manager Malky Mackay on BBC Radio 5 Live: “Croatia were exceptional against Brazil in the first half of that opening game. They are a tough outfit and have a lot to prove tonight – they have gone into siege mentality after a few problems with their national press. Mario Mandzukic, returning to the side, will be key.”
BBC World Service Reporter John Bennett in Brazil: “Cameroon coach Volker Finke has been heavily criticised by the country’s press and the fans for his negative style in the first game against Mexico. It’ll be interesting if he takes a different approach tonight. The big problem for the German boss is that he lacks a really dangerous attacking midfielder. Eyong Enoh, Alex Song and Joel Matip are all defensive. It’s difficult to see who will give Cameroon a creative spark in Manaus.”
Tom Rostance: “Strong start from the African side, who last won a game in the World Cup in 2002 against Saudi Arabia. The youngster Vincent Aboubakar skins Dejan Lovren down the right and wins a free-kick. Danger here…”
10 minutes in and already there are some good signs showing for Cameroon or Croatia.
Tom Rostance: “Croatia have been under the cosh rather so far, but they do get the ball out to Ivan Perisic on the right. He was a threat against Brazil and beats his man easily again, only to overclub the cross.”
Talking of Croatia, they’ve just scored a 0-1 goal strike against Cameroon (Ivica Olic – 11′)
Samuel Eto’o has just been ruled out for Cameroon (NOOOO!!!)
Tom Rostance: “He doesn’t miss those! He scored in the 2002 World Cup and he’s at it again, veteran Ivica Olic arriving at the right place at at the right time to convert a lovely square ball from Ivan Perisic. Against the run of play but Croatia are in front.”
Malky Mackay: “What a terrific counter. Mario Mandzukic’s lay-off was exceptional and Ivan Perisic puts a beautiful ball across to Ivica Olic. A great run from him at the back post to steal in behind Stephane M’Bia and meet the pass from his Wolfsburg team-mate. This lad Perisic impressed me in the Brazil match and has started well again.”
Twitter Debate: #bbcworldcup
John: Great night for Ivan Rakitic to run riot and Croatia to show why they are a lot of people’s choice for the surprise package of the World Cup.
Tom Rostance: “As it stands, Cameroon will be out of the World Cup. They haven’t got out of the group stage since 1990…”
Twitter Debate: #bbcworldcup
Ted Ditchburn: That Ivan Perisic is a proper player..was in first game.. and made that goal inevitable
Scott: Vincent Aboubakar already showing all his class. Cameron’s biggest error against Mexico: not playing Aboubakar.
Tom Rostance: “Is there something about the right wing in Manaus? England were torched by Italy there last weekend and Cameroon can’t cope with Croatia’s right wing tonight. Darijo Srna’s cross this time is asking to be buried but Mario Mandzukic can’t get there. And from the corner Ivan Perisic should score but his effort is deflected clear! Good things come to those who wait. There were 4393 days between Ivica Olic’s first World Cup goal in 2002 and his second tonight. Persistence pays off.”
John Bennett: “It’s not surprising to see Cameroon looking so low in confidence in this game. It’s worth remembering that they’re lucky to have even made it to the World Cup in the first place. Cameroon only ended up topping their group in qualifying because Togo had fielded an ineligible player. Meanwhile the whole build-up to Brazil was dominated by a bonus row, which included the players refusing to board their plane. At the moment it’s looking like a 2014 World Cup campaign to forget for the Indomitable Lions.”
Tom Rostance: “One punt downfield takes out the Cameroon backline, Ivica Olic races onto it and hammers a rising shot over the bar from wide on the left. The tempo is way down now, you wouldn’t know that Cameroon need a win. Croatia look very comfortable. Cameroon do put a neat move together and send Stephane Mbia away down the right but he takes so long to get a cross away that he gets shut down and wastes it.”
Andrew (via text): Cameroon are a hard-working side, but they’re lacking some real standout individual talent. There’s no one who looks like they are capable of taking this game by the scruff of the neck and dragging them back into contention. Unfortunately for Cameroon, the man who is capable of doing that is sitting on the bench nursing a knee injury. They are crying out for Samuel Eto’o here.
Malky Mackay: “Cameroon are gambling now and it’s quite early in the game to be doing that. The two centre-backs for Cameroon have got their work cut out because the two wing-backs Stephane M’Bia and Benoit Assou-Ekotto are just leaving them behind on every attack. And Croatia are the type of team who are very gifted playing on the counter.”
Tom Rostance: What are you doing Alex Song?! Pepe was guilty of a stupid red card for Portugal the other day but this is even worse. Mario Mandzukic tussles with him off the ball and Song just punches him in the back! Brainless. Referee Pedro Proenca has to show him a red card and Cameroon are down to 10.”
RED CARD FOR ALEX SONG!!!!
Malky Mackay: “Petulance. Alexandre Song ran across Mario Mandzukic slighty as he was trying to get back and he strikes out at him. It’s pathetic to be sent off for something like that. Now Cameroon have a mountain to climb, Song has really put his team up against it. Volker Finke the Cameroon manager looks perturbed. Robert Kovac, the Croatia manager, looks like he’s just stepped off a catwalk. Cool as a cucumber.”
Des: Ah the old discrete elbow him in the spine manoeuvre. Good thinking Song.
Chris Mitchell: How utterly ludicrous from Alex Song. The definition of the term red mist. There didn’t look like any provocation at all either.
2ND HALF KICK OFF!!! ALREADY 3 MINUTES INTO THE SECOND HALF AND CROATIA HAVE SCORED WITH A 0-2 GOAL STRIKE AGAINST CAMEROON (IVAN PERISIC – 48′)
Tom Rostance: “Should be three! Cameroon are all at sea at the back as Croatia send in striker Mario Mandzukic right through the middle, he takes his time and comes under pressure from Nicolas Nkoulou, before slicing his shot wide with only Charles Itandje to beat. Bad miss.”
Malky Mackay: “That man again Ivan Perisic with a beautiful run and a fantastic finish, The number five Dany Nounkeu, who has just come on, looks like he is towing a caravan there and could not catch him. And it all comes from a dreadful mis-kick from Charles Itandje. Cameroon have re-started very slackly. Croatia in the ascendancy.”
Twitter Debate: #bbcworldcup
Brad Peterson: Pepe needs to hand over his ‘most stupid sending off at the World Cup’ award to Alex Song.
Matt Donnelly: Ivan Perisic, remember that name I have a feeling we will be seeing him in the Premier League. He’s been the best player tonight for Croatia hands down.
Tom Rostance: “He’s been linked with a move to Everton, Ivan Perisic. Been very impressive in both games so far. And there’s a cracking volley at the back stick from Cameroon sub Dany Nounkeu, very hard and not very high. Just over the top. Cameroon have conceded 36 goals in their last 18 World Cup games and they are leaking like a sieve in Manaus. Mario Mandzukic could fill his boots here. This is a pretty poor showing from Cameroon. Talk about going out with a whimper. Ivan Perisic leads them on a merry dance again and is hacked to the ground.”
GOAL!!!!! CROATIA SCORED AGAIN, A 0-3 GOAL STRIKE AGAINST CAMEROON (MARIO MANDZUKIC – 61′)
Tom Rostance: “Cameroon forward Vincent Aboubakar has a good run down the left but can’t smuggle the ball across the face of the goal and Croatia almost counter at the other end. Cameroon are 3-0 down and only have one man back! Crazy stuff.”
Malky Mackay: “A beautiful header from Mario Mandzukic, but where is the marking? He gets away from Joel Matip and it’s a free header, Charles Itandje the goalkeeper could do nothing about that. Croatia will be delighted, Mandzukic has not been playing that much for Bayern Munich this season. The Cameroon bench look forlorn. This leaves a lovely game set up between Croatia and Mexico to decide who will go through with Brazil.”
Tom Rostance: “Mexico will have four points, Croatia three going into their showdown next Monday night. A win for either side will take them through, a draw would be good enough for Mexico. Cameroon are set to become the first team since Switzerland in 1966 to lose six successive World Cup games. The record is eight in a row by Mexico (run ended in 1958) so that one is safe for at least another four years.”
Malky Mackay: “Cameroon are really throwing caution to the wind now and every time they break they’re is a good chance they will be caught and Croatia score another. Ivica Olic has been excellent again tonight and with Eduardo coming on they are thinking about resting him ahead of the final group game.”
GOAL!!!! CROATIA’S MANDZUKIC IS AT IT AGAIN WITH A 0-4 STRIKE AGAINST CAMEROON (73′)
Tom Rostance: “Will Eduardo get himself a goal? He’s very keen to get in behind the non-existent Cameroon defence. He is almost in but takes an extra touch and is dispossessed.”
Twitter Debate: #bbcworldcup
James Butler: It’s amazing how much better Croatia look with Mandzukic as a focal point going forwards. He’s always “there”.
Conchur Moore: The Cameroon keeper is a bit wobbly, keeps falling over his feet. Croatia look like a good shout for the quarters at least.
Alex South: Croatia are a different proposition with Mandzukic in the side. I’m surprised Bayern want to sell.
John Bennett: “I was in Cameroon when the team qualified for the World Cup. There was so much joy and hope, that after missing out of qualifying for two Africa Cup of Nations tournaments, they had finally turned the corner. I can only imagine how the fans are feeling now watching this humiliating performance. It won’t be the defeat that hurts the most, it’ll be the way the team has played. Too defensive, too cautious, too afraid. The antithesis of what made Cameroon perhaps Africa’s most famous football nation.”
Tom Rostance: “Charles Itandje charges out of his area to head away a long ball forwards as we enter the last 10 minutes. Any more for any more? Or are Croatia declaring on four?”
Malky Mackay: “Benjamin Moukandjo has been the one player who has impressed me from Cameroon. He has always looked to attack Croatia with his pace and running ability and I feel sorry for him because he has done really well. I know Mario Mandzukic has got two goals for Croatia but Ivan Perisic has been most the influential for me tonight.”
Tom Rostance: “This is it for Eduardo! He’s in on goal – but cuts inside and his shot is blocked. A pre-Martin Taylor Eduardo would have buried that.”
Twitter Debate: #bbcworldcup
Adam Gordon: I really hope at least one of the African teams progress to the next round. Ivory Coast seem the best bet, though Algeria might do it.
Austin Brock: This is kind of tasty now. If Croatia and Mexico draw and Brazil lose, Brazil would go out. And Brazil have been poor.
Tom Rostance: “Almost five! Another killer breakaway from Croatia sees Ante Rebic pull it across for the arriving Ivan Rakitic, he chips it over the head of Charles Itandje – but it goes just wide. Great header! Cameroon go close to a consolation as Cameroon sub Pierre Webo meets a left-wing cross with a bullet header, he heads it down, like David Platt v Cameroon all those years ago, it bounces up and hits the crossbar! Team-mates Benoit Assou-Ekotto and Ben Moukandjo then square up to each other in the aftermath. Not sure what that was all about…”
Malky Mackay: “That’s madness from Benoit Assou-Ekotto there, he’s tried to head butt his team-mate. That is an absolute disgrace. They had to be pulled apart. And again this is another sign of the team spirit within this side. The Prince, Samuel Eto’o, this will be his last World Cup and probably he will be taking over the team himself at some point. He seems a very powerful figure. Between him and Roger Milla coming out and criticising the team, it’s a bit of a poisoned chalice for Volker Finke. You need harmony within a group, until the egos are set aside a team will go nowhere – you saw that with France in 2010.”
FULL TIME!!! CAMEROON ARE NOW ELIMINATED ALONG WITH SPAIN FROM THE WORLD CUP!!!
THANK YOU FOR KEEPING PINNED TO THIS BLOG FEED, AND I WILL MAKE SURE TO KEEP YOU ALL UPDATED OVER THE NEXT COUPLE OF WEEKS ON THE WORLD CUP IN THE LEAD UP TO THE FINALS!!!