By Basil Afoni
With Cameroon set to start their journey of redemption at Brazil 2014 against the Mexicans on June 13, at the Arena Dunas Natal, www.lions4life.com takes a look at some of the threats that the El Tri, as they are fondly called, will pose to the Lions.
Although they had a tough time qualifying, the El Tri are, nevertheless, an opponent to be scared of. Playing with a blend of players versed in European, South and North American football championships, they will be going to Brazil to make their 15th appearance at the World Cup.
The El Tri are famous for their system of 1-5-3-2 which is unique. In this system, played with five defenders, one in the middle more technical and supplies most of their balls to the various angles.
The three in the midfield, act as a shield to the technical defender who does the supply. When they have the ball, two of the midfielders act as wingers. This system was used by the Italians at the group stage to beat Spain at the EURO 2012 co-hosted by Poland and Ukraine.
Also, the El Tri will be relying so much on their swiftness to dominate the Lions that seem heavy in their play style.
With the likes of Javier Chicharito Hernandez and Oribe Peralta, who are both clinical finishers, they might cause problems to the slow playing styles of Aurélien Chedjou and Nicolas N’Koulou.
Chicharito’s ability to dominate in the air is also a cause for concern, when they meet the Lions.
The Mexicans will be counting so much on the counter-attacking system that saw them qualify for the showdown in Brazil.
With the pace of their frontline, it will be difficult for the slow and clumsy defensive structure of the Lions to withstand them.
Players To Watch
Oribe Peralta: If there’s one striker in Group A that all accomplished centre-backs will fear, it’s not Mandzukic, Neymar or Eto’o, but the unheralded Peralta.
Not only is Mexico’s No. 9 one of the former strikers in international football, with 11 goals in his last nine appearances for El Tri, he had a superb performance at the London Olympics in 2012.
With his goal-scoring ability he could certainly fire a far-from-vintage Mexico side to beat the Lions. His performance in the London Olympics saw fans got the hash tag, #ImAnOribeliever, trending on Twitter. The 30-year-old is currently playing for Mexican side, Santos Laguna.
Javier Chicharito Hernandez: Although the striker has not had enough playing time under Manchester United Coach, David Moyes, Chicharito still remains a thorn in the flesh of many defenders. He was the Gold Cup’s top scorer with 7 goals.
Chicharito is the joint third highest goal scorer of all-time for the Mexican national team with 35 goals in 57 appearances.
Hernandez is commonly known as Chicharito, meaning little pea in Spanish, because his father, Javier Hernández Gutiérrez, was nicknamed Chícharo (pea) because of his green eyes.
He has been described as a “goal-poacher”, due to some of his goals being scored from close-range. Sir Alex Ferguson described him as two-footed, very quick, in possession of a good spring and a natural goal scorer.
Hernández’s former team-mate, Jesús Padilla described him as “amazing in the air”, despite his height.
Giovani dos Santos: He currently plays as an attacking midfielder for Spanish La Liga club, Villarreal CF. He can also play as a winger or forward.
In 2007, dos Santos was named by World Soccer Magazine as one of the “Top 50 Most Exciting Teen Footballers”.
In the 2010 World Cup, he was voted runner-up for the FIFA Young Player of the Tournament award, which eventually went to Thomas Müller of Germany.