Alex Song Red Card Signals The End Of Cameroon's World Cup

By Craig Pearson
Alex Song receives a red card against Croatia
Getty Images

In Group A, Cameroon was always the underdogs in the group from the moment the World Cup draw was made. Although, in truth, even though they have zero points from their first two games — and likely to be zero points in three games after they play Brazil in their final group game — they have played better, for the most part, than their statistics and points tally would suggest.

They were narrowly beaten by Mexico in their opening game, and against Croatia they were doing well and being competitive until an act of stupidity cost them the chance to keep their World Cup dreams alive. Cameroon midfielder, Alex Song, lashed out at Croatia striker Mario Mandzukic and gave the referee no choice but to dismiss him from the game. It was costly for Cameroon, who went on to lose the game 4-0 after only being 1-0 down at the time of the send-off.

It opened the game up for Croatia and released their two playmakers in midfield, Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic, to run the game and create dangerous opportunities for the Croatia attackers to exploit. Before the sending off, Cameroon was doing a good job of getting their three central midfielders around the two Croat midfielders, closing down their space, and stopping them from dictating the game the way they wanted to.

As soon as Song was sent off, though, the game opened up in the midfield area and it was effectively game over from that point on — both in the game and the World Cup as a whole for Cameroon. Neither Rakitic or Modric were particularly outstanding or at their brilliant best, but they were both more than good enough to control the game and use the space they now had wisely. In particular, Ivica Olic and Ivan Perisic benefited most from their service and both were very dangerous for Cameroon to try and defend against.

Croatia will now play Mexico in what will be a shootout to advance to the second round, and Cameroon will go on to play Brazil in what will be a goodbye game for them. Officially, it will only be goodbye to Cameroon once that game ends, although, in reality, the end was nigh from the second Song was dismissed against Croatia.


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