Rocky roads to Brazil
SAO PAULO (AP):
Mexico owe their place at the World Cup to an injury-time comeback by the United States. Cameroon needed a last-minute loan to end a player strike over bonuses and put the squad on a plane to Brazil.
However rocky their roads to the World Cup, both are here now and mindful of the desperate need to start well when they meet in Group A today.
Without a crucial equaliser by Graham Zusi, which was followed by a winner from Aron Johannsson in a remarkable 3-2 victory by the United States over Panama in qualifying last year, Mexico would have missed out on the sport's showcase event for the first time since 1990.
First and last w cup
"This is my first and probably my last World Cup, so you can bet that I will give my all to make history with this team," said 30-year-old striker, Oribe Peralta, the hero when Mexico beat Neymar's Brazil in the Olympic final in London two years ago.
Cameroon also left it late to get to the World Cup, with the squad's arrival delayed by a day after players initially refused to get on a plane in a dispute over their bonus payments for the tournament.
Manchester United's Javier Hernandez looks set to start on the bench against Cameroon, with Peralta and Villarreal's Giovani Dos Santos likely to play up front in Mexico's 5-3-2 formation.
Cameroon's Indomitable Lions have been anything but since they shocked the world by beating defending champion Argentina in the opening game of the 1990 World Cup and making it to the quarter-finals. The team has a dismal record of winning just a single game in the four World Cups it has played since.
Cameroon have a solid spine, with goalkeeper Charles Itandje, Barcelona midfielder Alex Song and veteran striker Samuel Eto'o. Forward Eric Choupo-Moting of Germany's Mainz has a growing reputation, but the temperament of the group will be tested by the bonus saga, even if they are shrugging it off.