Cameroon and Croatia both come into Wednesday’s match in Manaus desperate for a result. They each lost their opening games of the tournament and they will likely need to come away with at least a point if they hope to advance.
Vincent Aboubaker is his likely replacement after watching the 1-0 defeat by Mexico from the bench.Jean Makoun is another possible change from the side that lost in Natal.Croatia wait on Real Madrid's former Spurs midfielder Luka Modric, who damaged a foot in the 3-1 loss against Brazil.If he fails a late test, Mateo Kovacic is his probable replacement.
Chelsea's Cameroon striker Samuel Eto'o left his emotions run wild when he told Cameroon Radio-Television: "I am hoping the gods grant me a miracle and that I am able to defend my dear, beautiful country," ahead of a game neither side can afford to lose.
Sadly, it is not to be and the veteran must watch from the side-lines.In opposition, the fitness of Luka Modric is key.
Following the 0-0 draw between Brazil and Mexico on Tuesday night, if either team loses this game, they will be out of the World Cup.
Croatia manager Niko Kovac was none too pleased when his team was whistled for the game-deciding penalty against Brazil with the score tied 1-1. In his post-game press conference Kovac said, “If anybody saw this was a penalty anywhere in the stadium, raise their hands. If you continue like this, you will have 100 penalties.
Even though he played all 90 minutes against Mexico in the first match of the tournament, it looks like Samuel Eto’o will at least miss out on this match against Croatia due to an ongoing knee injury. Eto’o is the nation’s leading all-time scorer by a healthy 23-goal margin and he has three World Cup goals to his name.
While it looks like one star striker will be missing the match, it will mark the return of another. Mario Mandzukic will play in his first World Cup match after skipping the Brazil loss to serve a red card suspension picked up during qualifying. The Bayern Munich player (for now) scored 18 goals in the Bundesliga last season.
Ivan Rakitic did not have the most influential game against Brazil in the World Cup opener. But the Sevilla man -- he won the Europa League trophy with the Spanish club - still earned a reported $25 million move to Barcelona which was sealed on Monday.
Possible starting lineups
Cameroon: Itandje; Djeugoue, N'Koulou, Matip, Bedimo; M'Bia, Song, Enoh; Moukandjo, Choupo-Moting, Eto'o
Croatia: Pletikosa; Srna, Corluka, Lovren, Vrsaljko; Modric, Rakitic, Perisic, Kovacic; Olic, Jelavic
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Tag : World Cup