Neymar lasted one game for Brazil, always with injured ankles as happens to classical ballet dancers. He looked in good shape and wanted to like and like himself against Switzerland, but since then he still hasn't been able to come back. And he is missed. His compatriots more than anyone and soccer fans around the world too, even though the guy is sometimes a bit of an idiot, he plays soccer like few others and we're in a World Cup. Brazil is not so much fun without him. Those of Tite hope to recover it in the round of 16 match against South Korea. They are still favorites after adding six points (no team has made it full) and going first in their group, but they will be even more so with Neymar. The defeat against Cameroon will not affect them too much. No starter was lined up.
Cameroon, for their part, needed to win to maintain their chances and they did so thanks to a goal from Aboubakar, but Switzerland's victory left them out. The indomitable lions say goodbye winning but they leave Qatar without the spark that characterized them in past times. They have been seen as too serious and contained, perhaps affected by an incident that marked their concentration: André Onana bounced off Rigobert Song, the coach, and the brawl ended with the goalkeeper leaving Qatar. It wasn't the best sign. Only Morocco and Senegal remain as representatives of the African continent.
The party left an image and an ephemeris to begin with. The photograph was a banner displayed at one of the goals to wish Pelé a speedy recovery, a myth of myths in Brazil, today with health problems. "Get well soon," read the message. The event was starred by a great Barcelona acquaintance: Dani Alves, aged 39, was lined up by Tite, equaling Roberto Carlos' 125 caps with his country. Ahead there is only Cafu with 142. He will not catch him.
Brazil not only came out with Alves as captain but also with the whole new team. He seated all the headlines, the Brazilian coach to reserve the good ones for the round of 16 and gave the substitutes an opportunity to be seen. The one who did it the most was undoubtedly Martinelli. The Arsenal striker twice found himself opposed by Onana's replacement, Epassy. First with a great intervention saving him from a header; then blocking a frontal ball.
Cameroon, who needed to win to qualify at the expense of the Serbia-Switzerland result, seemed lethargic as if it weren't the case with their players. Suddenly, one minute from the break, Mbeumo brushed the goal with a header that managed to get Ederson to stop the night. They were awake.
In the second part they were noticed. Cameroon went for the game at last and Brazil, that is, Martinelli, wanted to take advantage of the new spaces. This time Epassy's hand, already the best in the game, competed with that of his colleague Ederson. The night had come alive. The exchange of blows was hopeful.
In the end, the one who knocked out was Aboubakar, already in discount, with a beautiful header on the iron. But Cameroon's joy did not last as long as that of the scoring striker: he celebrated the goal by taking off his shirt and was sent off for a second yellow card.