(MENAFN- The Peninsula)
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Doha: The Swiss football team playing in Qatar 2022 is the best the country has ever produced and they are determined to reach the next round, manager Murat Yakin said yesterday ahead of their tie against Cameroon.
The 40,000-capacity Al Janoub Stadium in Al Wakrah hosts the opening encounter of Group G at 1pm today.
“I think that we are seeing the best Swiss national team that has ever existed,” Yakin told a news conference.
“We have improved a lot and now we want to write history. We are not only here to participate. We are here to win and we want to get to the next round.”
Meanwhile, Cameroon manager Rigobert Song said his players had prepared well for the tournament and were focused and ready.
“We are very calm, and we're pleased that all of the mistakes we've made in the past have not been repeated, We haven't had any disputes about wages, about money, things have changed,” Song told reporters yesterday.
“The CFA has (former striker) Samuel Eto'o as president, he's a hard worker; he's there every day trying to make sure the players are as well prepared as possible.
We've seen mistakes made in the past, but this time we're calm we're ready, we're focused,” added Song, himself a former national icon.
Legendary player Eto'o - a four-time African Player of the Year - though has put Indomitable Lions' stakes very high saying they would become the first African team to lift the FIFA World Cup.
The two sides have played at 19 World Cup finals, with Switzerland making their debut in the 1934 tournament in Italy and Cameroon in 1982 in Spain. For both countries the high point has been reaching the quarter-finals – Switzerland in 1934, 1938 and 1958, while Cameroon reached the last eight in 1990. The Roger Milla-led 1990 team reached the quarter-finals amid impressive victories over Argentina and Colombia.
Cameroon, ranked 43, reached Qatar 2022 through a wafer-thin play-off victory over Algeria. However, they are in the world showpiece event for eighth time in their history – a record for an African country.
Captain Granit Xhaka said the present Swiss team is younger than the side of four years ago which was eliminated by Sweden in the round of 16.
The Arsenal midfielder said the team maybe a little more hungry to go deep into the World Cup.
With tournament favourites Brazil, and Serbia making the rest of Group G, not many are putting their money on Cameroon. But Xhaka said the Indomitable Lions' attacking talent cannot be taken out of the equation.
“We know that Cameroon have very good individual players who perform at a top level,” star midfielder Xhaka said.“It's a team that can be very dangerous if we let
Cameroon's attacking talent will be led by Napoli's Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa. He missed the World Cup play-off against Algeria due to injury but arrived in Qatar fully fit and in fine form.
For Switzerland, ranked 15, a group of players who won the Under-17 World Cup in 2009 are in the peak of their careers. Manuel Akanji, the team's defensive mainstay, and attacking forward Breel Embolo from that lot are in fine fettle for Rossocrociati (Red Crosses).
After today's encounter Cameroon will meet Serbia on Nov 28 while Switzerland take on Brazil the same day.
When: Today at 1:00pm
Where: Al Janoub Stadium (Capacity: 40,000)
- Between them the two sides have played at 19 World Cup finals, with Switzerland making their debut in the 1934 tournament in Italy and Cameroon in 1982 in Spain.
- The high point for both teams has been making it to the quarter-finals, which Switzerland did in 1934, 1938 and 1958, while Cameroon's best performance came in 1990.
- Cameroon come into the game on the back of one win, one draw and three losses in their last five games, while Switzerland have won three and lost two.
- Cameroon's last victory in a World Cup group game came against Qatar's neighbours from Saudi Arabia, who they beat 1-0 on June 6, 2002 in Saitama, Japan. They lost all their group games at the 2010 and 2014 tournaments.
- Switzerland have progressed from the group stage in three of their last four tournaments (2006, 2014 and 2018), missing out in 2010.
- This is the first time the two sides meet.