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2019 World Cup Preview: Cameroon

You’re not surprising anyone this time

China PR v Cameroon: Round of 16 - FIFA Women’s World Cup 2015 Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

At the 2015 World Cup, Cameroon went further than most people expected. They won two group stage games, lost 2-1 to Japan, and finished second in their group, advancing to the knockout stage before going out at the hands of China by a score of 1-0. It’s going to be hard for Cameroon to take anyone by surprise in France.

The Team

Cameroon’s roster features eight players that play in France, two that play in Norway, and one that plays in NWSL. That’s a considerable array of players plying their trade in respected leagues.

How They’ve Fared

This is Cameroon’s second world cup. They advanced to the round of 16 in 2015.

How They Qualified

After winning their group in the 2018 Cup of Nations, Cameroon lost to Nigeria on penalties, sending them to the third-place game where they beat Mali to qualify for the World Cup

Group

E, with Canada, New Zealand, and the Netherlands.

Player You Know

Estelle Johnson played four seasons for the NWSL’s Washington Spirit before she was sent to Sky Blue FC this past off-season. The center back wasn’t always a starter, making 51 appearances over those four seasons, but she was reliable when she did play. The 30-year-old is eligible to play for Cameroon by virtue of being born there, and now she’s the chance to play in a World Cup.

Player You’ll Know Soon

You may already know Michaela Abam, because she scored 42 goals in 95 games at West Virginia University before being drafted by Sky Blue FC in 2018. She only made four appearances for Sky Blue before her release, whereupon she moved to Paris FC in France. She’s very new to her national team, but she scored twice in her one and only international appearance, a 7-0 friendly win over Zambia last November. It seems that things have gone well for her since leaving Sky Blue FC, and that could bode well for her this summer.

World Cup Outlook

Thus far in 2019, Cameroon have not really tested themselves. They’ve played twice against World Cup teams and lost both times, a 1-0 loss to China in April, and a 4-0 loss to Spain in May. In the lead up to the World Cup, they played that game against Spain, and three other games against Spanish clubs, with just one of them, Levante, playing in the Primera Division, Spain’s top flight. All of this is to say it’s very hard to say whether Cameroon is even as good as they were in 2015. That said, they’ve landed in a difficult group, with Canada and the Netherlands, while New Zealand could be a potential spoiler. Odds are that Cameroon will need to go through as a third place team, and they’ve got a real chance at that.