Thursday, June 19, 2014

Croatia 4 Cameroon 0

Mario Mandzukic made up for lost time with his performance against Cameroon in the second round of fixtures in Group A.  After missing Croatia's controversial loss to Brazil in the opener, the Bayern Munich striker returned to the side and scored the third and fourth goals of the Europeans' easy win over their African counterparts.

On top of the goals, Mandzukic also featured heavily in one of the game's other crucial moments, taking a swiping punch by Alex Song to the back while attempting to join a counter break off a Cameroon corner.  The Barcelona midfielder saw red and that was pretty much the end of the Indomitable Lions' hopes of advancing to the next round.

Cameroon actually had the better of the first exchanges, but Ivica Olic finished off a series of nice passes by the Croatians to go one to the good.  Cameroon never really recovered and once Ivan Perisic scored to open the second half, the onslaught was on.

The Indomitable Lions are down for the count, but their performance in the final group stage match against Brazil could have implications for the hosts moving on.  More likely however, it will be the winner of Croatia-Mexico that moves on to the knockout rounds alongside Brazil.  Mexico would advance with just a draw and, conceivably, so could Croatia should Cameroon beat Brazil.  But after the spooky calls in the opener, I doubt Croatia is holding its breath for any bad luck to befall the Samba boys.

No Short Corners Man of the Match: Mandzukic.  We're left to wonder if the score of the opener would have been different had he been available.

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