Three Talking Points: Switzerland 1-0 Cameroon

Cameroon have a Vincent Aboubakar problem
Long-time talisman striker Aboubakar, now into his thirties, only made the bench here which allowed coach Rigobert Song to move away from a functional 4-4-2 that proved hit-and-miss at January’s AFCON. The first half saw Brentford’s Bryan Mbeumo lead a fluid, pacey front three while the extra midfielder in this new 4-3-3 provided (in the first half at least) a more solid base on which to build. Despite numerous openings, the goal didn’t come, however, and, although he’s a much less mobile focal point, Aboubakar has long been a reliable source of goals for the Indomitable Lions with 33 at International level. Will Song attempt to combine his more fluid attack with Aboubakar’s goals in the next two games?

Embolo is finally ready to lead the Swiss attack
Having struggled through recent tournaments without a consistent goal threat, as both Josip Drmić and Haris Seferovic struggled for goals, Breel Embolo could be finally ready to assume that responsibility for the Swiss. Often frustratingly less than prolific at club level, not reaching double figures in the league since leaving Basel for the Bundesliga in 2015/16, Embolo, still just 25, has become notably more clinical of late. Last season was his best scoring year in Germany before hitting seven goals in his first 15 Ligue 1 games for Monaco since the summer. Always pacey and physical, his emphatic finish gave Switzerland the win here while providing a viable goal threat, especially after the break. It seems Embolo the consistent finisher might finally be emerging.

Cameroon need defensive cover
Song will be concerned by how static his defence and supporting midfielders became in conceding the only goal of the game to Embolo. Proactive defending was minimal for Cameroon while a weak back four was exposed positionally, a series of last-ditch blocks, while proving the commitment of Nicolas Nkoulou and Co., only masked some lax defending otherwise. Could adding a third centre-back be a better plan? Much of this squad is used to playing such a system, including young centre-back prospect Christopher Wooh of Rennes, who sat on the bench here. Games with Serbia and Brazil will likely provide stronger attacking tests for which Cameroon may need more solidity. As it stands, they risk being overpowered.


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