Football

Cameroon crash out of World Cup

Croatia's last game against Mexico will be a winner-takes-all clash

GROUP A

CAMEROON 0

CROATIA 4

(Ivica Olic 11, Ivan Perisic 48, 
Mario Mandzukic 61, 73)

Striker Mario Mandzukic scored two second-half goals as Croatia knocked 10-man Cameroon out of the World Cup with a 4-0 rout in Manaus this morning (Singapore time).

Croatia bounced back from their opening defeat by hosts Brazil to keep alive their hopes of progressing from Group A with an emphatic display.

But Cameroon were largely the architects of their own downfall after playing the last 50 minutes with 10 men, after Alexandre Song's dismissal for a reckless punch to Mandzukic's back.

The Indomitable Lions imploded with fullback Benoit Assou-Ekotto even trying to headbutt teammate Benjamin Moukandjo in the dying moments, following an argument.

Croatia, for their part, could have doubled their score but, at least did what they needed to.

Veteran forward Ivica Olic gave them a 1-0 half-time lead before his Wolfsburg teammate Ivan Perisic added a second ahead of Mandzukic's brace.

The result leaves Niko Kovac's Croatia third in the table, just one point behind joint leaders Brazil and Mexico.

Cameroon are bottom with no points. Croatia face Mexico in Recife on Tuesday morning for a place in the last 16.

Cameroon were hamstrung before kick-off when captain Samuel Eto'o failed to recover from a knee injury.

RETURN OF MANDZUKIC

Mandzukic returned for Croatia in style, having missed their opening defeat by hosts Brazil through suspension, breathing life into their last-16 hopes.

They needed just 11 minutes to take the lead as Cameroon failed to bounce back in tropical Manaus, after their opening 1-0 defeat by Mexico.

Olic met a Perisic pass at the far post and buried his shot past Cameroon goalkeeper Charles Itandje, then nearly added a second five minutes later.

Barcelona's Song then became the third player to be sent off at the World Cup, after Portugal's Pepe and Uruguay's Maxi Pereira.

Referee Pedro Proenca spotted Song lashing out at Mandzukic and produced a red card on 40 minutes.

Perisic grabbed Croatia's second on 48 minutes when he unleashed a powerful shot after a strong run.

Mandzukic, who wants to leave Bayern Munich with Poland striker Robert Lewandowski set to arrive from Borussia Dortmund, then grabbed his brace.

He headed home from a corner on 61 minutes before scoring his second on 73 minutes, tucking home the rebound after Itandje saved an Eduardo shot.

Barcelona's new signing Ivan Rakitic squandered a golden chance to claim Croatia's fifth just before the final whistle while Moukandjo hit the bar with a late header, before tangling with Assou-Ekotto.

Cameroon will now be playing just for pride when they face Brazil in Brasilia on Tuesday morning. - AFP.


MATCH STATS

Total shots: Cameroon 18, Croatia 21

Shots on target: Cameroon 7, Croatia 14

Corners: Cameroon 4, Croatia 7

Fouls committed: Cameroon 11, Croatia 9

Yellow cards: Cameroon 0, Croatia 1

Red cards: Cameroon 1, Croatia 0

Ball possession: Cameroon 49%, Croatia 51%

World Cup