Brazil overwhelmed Serbia with 19 shots and two goals in the second half
When quizzed about his side’s chances in this game, Cameroon’s manager Rigobert Song said, “We are progressing and improving. It is possible to beat Brazil. We believe in ourselves, we did not come here to just go through the motions. Cameroon still has a contribution to make to this tournament.”
If Cameroon qualify for the knockouts, it will be the first time they do since 1990, and they will be the third African nation to progress at this World Cup alongside Senegal and Morocco. That would break the record of two African countries – set in 2014. But first, Cameroon need to beat Brazil and hope that Switzerland fail to win their match.
Dani Alves is not the only player who could make his first start at this World Cup tonight as Tite is expected to make a raft of changes to the side that started the last game.
This will give chances to some of Brazil’s attacking stars to shine ahead of the knockouts, perhaps giving their manager a selection headache. That includes the likes of Arsenal striker Gabriel Jesus, Manchester United winger Antony and Real Madrid forward Rodrygo.
There should be rotation in midfield and defence too, so the likes of Bruno Guimarães and Bremer could get full World Cup debuts.
Eyebrows were raised when 39-year-old Dani Alves was named in Brazil’s 26-man squad, and this decision came under further scrutiny when Éder Militão was picked in the right back position against Switzerland instead of him.
Tite seemingly did not trust the ex-Barcelona defender’s recovery pace (or rather lack thereof) as his age has certainly caught up to him, but there is no question that he still adds a lot of quality on the ball.
In this match against Cameroon where Brazil have little to lose, Alves is reportedly set to start. This would make him the oldest player to feature for them at the FIFA Men’s World Cup.
Brazil are universally considered one of the biggest favourites for this tournament, but in football analysis circles, there is an interesting discussion going on about coach Tite’s style of play.
The 61-year-old manager is setting his team in a pretty rigid positional system in possession, usually with a 3-2-5 structure. This style of play is associated with European football, whereas in Brazil, players are typically allowed more positional freedom and the focus is on quick movements.
So far, this has yielded positive results against two defensive-minded opponents, but how it fares against higher-quality opposition is a different question. We will probably only get the answer to that in the knockouts.
All of Brazil had their hearts in their mouths after Neymar’s ankle injury against Serbia. The medical assessment after that match confirmed that he would miss the remainder of the group stage, but is expected to be back after the knockouts.
Thankfully, the Seleção got the job done against Switzerland in the absence of their star player, so they do not really need him for this game. So, even if he has recovered, expect him to sit this match out as well.
Cameroon face the almighty Brazil without André Onana, who has been temporarily suspended from the squad after a fall-out with manager Rigobert Song.
It’s been reported that Song wanted his goalkeeper to play more traditionally, whereas Onana insisted on playing short passes and being more involved in possession. Cameroon’s statement stated that the Inter Milan goalkeeper was suspended for disciplinary reasons. The player claimed that he was attempting to find solutions but there was “no will on the other side”.
Brazil are already through to the knockouts, so many of their starters might be rested for this match. They are also favourites to top the group.
Cameroon, however, have a lot to play for as they will be fighting to stay in the tournament. They must win this game to put themselves in contention of finishing second, but also need a favourable result between Serbia and Switzerland for that to happen.
Good evening from Doha.
It’s day 13 of the tournament and later today, Cameroon and Brazil will take on each other at 10pm (19:00 GMT) at the Lusail Stadium.
Follow all the latest news and updates leading up to and during the game right here.
The 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar is here. Qatar and Ecuador kicked off the tournament and they are no longer alive. You can find the full schedule here with start times and TV info. There’s no better time to make your picks as we gear up to see who will take home one of the most coveted trophies in sports. Thirty-two teams will combine to play 64 games over the 28 days of the tournament. We have our latest Power Rankings here to see where everyone stacks up — and while you’re at it, sign up for our new newsletter covering the beautiful game in all its glory, including daily updates about the World Cup, here.
Check out our bracket to pick all the games in what will be the final World Cup to include both Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. We have you covered with the complete group standings, plus James Benge’s game-by-game predictions here. Messi has already announced that this will be his final World Cup for Argentina, who are among the favorites to win the tournament. After getting his first international trophy by winning the 2021 Copa America with Argentina, there would be no better way for a Messi sendoff than with a World Cup title. Ronaldo hasn’t announced that this will be his last World Cup, but the Portuguese forward would be 41 by the time the next World Cup rolls around. Safe to say Father Time is undefeated.
France — without Karim Benzema, Christopher Nkunku, N’Golo Kante and Paul Pogba — will look to rise above their injuries and off the pitch drama to make a run to defend their title from 2018, but with talented England and Brazil teams, the French will have stiff competition for the trophy. The United States will also be happy to advance from the group stage after a disappointing run of friendlies leading into the World Cup.
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In many ways, Lincoln Riley went into this season by the seat of his coaching pants. The transfer portal was a weapon, sure, but an unrefined one. USC’s coach told CBS Sports he would not blame observers for seeing this season as an “experiment.” Twenty incoming transfers — the most for a single team nationally — have not only assimilated but excelled.
Should the No. 4 Trojans defeat No. 11 Utah in Friday’s Pac-12 Championship Game, USC will be conference champs for only the second time since 2008. It will also get a chance to contend for the national title for the first time since 2004.
“People are going to see this as a quick fix, an opportunity to maybe turn something around that’s been down,” said Riley. “It’s like anything, whether you’re signing a high school [class or bringing in transfers], … some of them turn out and some of them don’t.
“I do think a lot of ours has been by luck or skill or a combination of both. We’ve hit on the right kind of kids.”
Across a championship weekend that appears to lack drama, the Pac-12 title game assumes the most of it. A USC loss would open a door giving No. 5 Ohio State new life in the College Football Playoff conversation.
Off the field, in the second year of the one-time transfer exemption, there still is no blueprint for going all-in with the portal. There isn’t enough proof of concept. But for now, it’s become foundation for the Trojans, which are 11-1 for the first time since 2008.
In this Year of the Turnaround, USC has achieved that record rebounding from 4-8, the worst finish at the school since 1991. Quarterback Caleb Williams, an Oklahoma transfer, enters Friday night as the Heisman Trophy favorite. The Trojans’ top four wide receivers are all transfers.
One of the biggest criticisms of transfer free agency, locker room issues, hasn’t played out nationally — at least not publicly to this point.
“Fortunately, we brought in the right kind of guys,” Riley reiterated. “They were locker room-type guys. They really added to the culture. It could have been a disaster without that. If you mesh a group together that doesn’t vibe, nothing is worse than that.”
That last USC team to play for a national title in 2004 had 74 players from California on its 85-man roster (87%). This year’s roster has 42 players from out of state with only 62% from California.
Regardless, Riley wants to recruit more high school players. His Class of 2023 is currently 13th in the 247Sports Composite team rankings with 20 high school commitments and no transfers — yet.
“We definitely want to get back to more of a high school model,” Riley said. “But I think we’ll always be in the market for some transfers. Early on, the first couple of years here is probably going to be a little more [transfer heavy]. I hope we can build the foundation of the roster — and I think we will — where we don’t need that many.”
Riley admits there is a bit of a free agency feel to the current climate, but the ability to transfer doesn’t mean it’s the best thing.
“Whether they transfer to the business world or the NFL or whatever, you can’t bounce around in real life,” he said. “… It already is [free agency] to some point. In the NFL, you have pro scouting. I don’t think this is going to be much different.”
We’ll find out further on Monday when the next transfer window opens nationwide.
Don’t hold your breath
As mentioned, this is easily the least dramatic championship weekend in the CFP era. No. 1 Georgia, No. 2 Michigan and No. 3 TCU are all but locks for the playoff, win or lose. USC might be one as well.
Think of it as a window into the future. With 12 teams in the expanded 12-tea playoff beginning in 2024, all of the current top four could easily afford to lose (as long as they are OK with giving up a bye). Not only that, Ohio State, No. 6 Alabama, No. 7 Tennessee, No. 8 Penn State and No. 9 Clemson would be resting comfortably on the couch.
On Saturday, all but the Buckeyes would need unforeseen miracles. In 2024, they would have their practice schedules already arranged.
Yes, in the future, the championship games will essentially exist for seeding purposes. If the expanded playoff reduces the impact of the league title games, well, that’s just how it shakes.
Part of the appeal of the NFL is not only the scramble for playoff spots — 14 in a 32-team league — but also jockeying for home-field advantage and byes. The thought here is that same type of passion will lead to excitement in a 12-team playoff. Not just who is in, but who they can potentially play and where.