The Mexican national team defeated Cameroon 1-0 at the Arena das Duenas Stadium in Natal, Brazil to open their participation in the FIFA World Cup. The game was highly contested under heavy rain, but neither team faltered under the conditions. The Mexicans dominated the majority of the possession and begin their fifth world cup in a row with a positive result.
The first half was full of action with both teams taking the initiative and moving the ball forward. Mexico began with full control of the pitch, forcing the Cameroonians back on to their side of the field. The Africans had a five man defense, with four midfielders and only Samuel Eto’o on point. This made it difficult for El Tri to get into the area.
Giovani dos Santos would break the net on first touch in the 11th minute, but the Villarreal CF player was called offside by the linesman who lifted his flag to annul the play. Cameroon came to life for a few minutes after the annulled goal, but could not capitalize. Eto’o was the closest to scoring in the 22nd minute after a melee in the area that the Mexicans cleared.
Mexico broke the net once more, this time on a corner kick. Dos Santos was clear of mark and headed the ball into the net. However, a grave error by the linesman who raised his flag once more ended Mexico’s hopes of taking the lead in the first half. Cameroon had minutes of control, but it was Mexico that owned the pitch at the Arena das Duenas.
Mexico came out once more with the drive to get on the board. Once more they pushed the lions back onto their side of the pitch. Cameroon could only look to a counterstrike opportunity to try and get on the board. But the Mexican defense was on mark.
On a counterstrike by the Mexicans, Dos Santos took the ball into scoring position. He fired but goalkeeper Charles Intandje blocked, but could not control it. Oribe Peralta ran in for the rebound to hammer the ball into the net for the 1-0 in the 61st minute of play.
Cameroon moved up on attack after the goal with Mexico holding their line. With five minutes to go, Javier “Maza” Rodriguez saved what was a close call in favor of the lions. El Tri moved into defense and left Dos Santos and Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez up front to receive a long pass.
Benjamin Moukandjo had a clear shot in the 90 +1 with a header, but Guillermo Ochoa dove to stop the ball to prevent the scoreboard from changing. Two minutes later Miguel Layun took the ball into the area and centered to Hernandez who sent the ball over the crossbar missing the opportunity for the second goal of the game. El Tri maintained the score and played an impressive game. While the rain may have been a factor for the linesman, Dos Santos’ goals were legitimate. Mexico will face Brazil in their next game, Cameroon will face Croatia.