Football World Cup: It was worth sending off: Cameroon’s exit with a “special victory”


Soccer World Cup
It was worth sending off: Cameroon’s exit with a “special victory”

Cameroon's Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting takes to the field.  Photo: Tom Weller/dpa

Cameroon’s Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting takes to the field. photo

© Tom Weller/dpa

Cameroon became the first African team to beat record world champions Brazil at a World Cup. For some, the joy of this historic victory outweighed the disappointment of the end.

Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting stared stunned through the imposing round of the final stadium in Lusail, the jubilation of some of his teammates and even his coach Rigobert Song could not quite understand the FC Bayern Munich striker. Cameroon was eliminated in the first round of the World Cup in Qatar, as they did every time except for the legendary quarter-finals in 1990. There was no room for joy at Choupo-Moting.

Felt completely different Vincent Aboubakar. The regular captain, who had had to cede the starting position and captain’s armband to Choupo-Moting in the first two games, ensured a historic victory with a goal in added time. Aboubakar was so happy with his 1-0 winner against Brazil’s B team that he forgot his warning and received a second yellow card for being stripped of his shirt.

Referee Ismail Elfath was clearly uncomfortable with the situation. He congratulated Aboubakar on goal with a handshake and then slapped him on the shoulder before sending him off. Yet cameroon Captain’s mood was not spoiled. “It’s a shame that we were eliminated,” said the 30-year-old: “But it’s still a special win.” Should probably mean: It was worth the sending off.

After all, it was the first success of an African team in a World Cup finals against the record world champions. It was Cameroon’s first World Cup win in 20 years since a team coached by Winfried Schäfer beat Saudi Arabia 1-0 in 2002. And it was the second-best performance of the “irresistible lions” in their eighth appearance at the World Cup.

Formidable goalkeeper Devis Ebassy was hailed as a “hero” by a homeland journalist at the press conference. A special satisfaction for the 29-year-old, who spent his entire childhood in France and only became a national team player in 2021. “A year ago nobody knew me in Cameroon,” said Ebassy, ​​who replaced Inter Milan goalkeeper André Onana, who had been suspended for disciplinary reasons, from the second game onwards. “We can be proud of what we’ve achieved. We’ve shown that we’re a top team too. Unfortunately, we didn’t get through.”

Trainer Rigobert Song, once captain of the national team and professional at FC Liverpool and 1. FC Köln, only celebrated after the final whistle. About an hour later, the bitterness really came up. “I’m proud of the team, but I’m also sad,” said Song: “Because today we saw that we could have done better.” But ultimately the 0:1 decided the start against Switzerland. “But I’m sure,” said Song, “that my young team will grow at this World Cup.”

dpa



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