Croatia used their righteous anger from the opening game the right way, Cameroon allowed all the emotion to get to them for perhaps the biggest implosion the World Cup has ever seen.
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IIt’s certainly difficult to think of a worse campaign from an individual team, where so much went wrong both on and off the pitch.
The African side arrived in embarrassment and exited the tournament in the same way. Consider the details, and not just from this dismal 4-0 defeat.
Disputes over payment and awful logistics - from poorly-timed flights and inadequate hotels - gave way to tactical disorganisation and so many players losing their cool. Alex Song was red-carded for a disgraceful physical attack on Mario Mandzukic, Benoit Assout-Ekotto head-butted teammate Benjamin Moukandjo. Afterwards, Samuel Eto’o had to physical restrain Assout-Ekotto.
The former Chelsea striker was hardly a paragon of virtue. Questions have been raised over Eto’o’s disinterest in team meetings and his relationship with the rest of the squad.
Cameroon simply fell apart. They join Spain and Australia on the way home.
Croatia were a complete contrast. The used all the justifiable emotion from the unfortunate defeat to Brazil to rally, while Mandzukic made himself even more marketable.
The possible price Chelsea or Arsenal may have to pay for the forward just went up. He added a brace to initial goals by Ivica Olic and then Ivan Peric, turn an atrocious defeat for Cameroon into an utter humiliation.
It sets up an effective play-off for the final round of group games. While Brazil will surely now dismiss a chaotic Cameroon to secure top spot, Mexico and Croatia meet in Recife.
Mexico can go through with a draw, but the Balkan side must win. Momentum, however, seems with them.