World Cup 2014: Cameroon face fluid Croatia without star striker Samuel Eto'o

Former Chelsea striker could miss remainder of tournament

As Croatia try to keep their focus in the wake of paparazzi photographs of them bathing in the nude, their next opponents, Cameroon, are coming to terms with problems in their own ranks. In their must-win Group A encounter in Manaus, the Indomitable Lions must do without talismanic striker Samuel Eto’o.

The 33-year-old former Chelsea forward said he will need “a miracle” to be fit enough to play against Croatia. He played in the defeat against Mexico but claimed to have felt discomfort in his knee as early as the ninth minute, and has been unable to train.

“I am hoping the gods grant me a miracle,” said the former Chelsea forward. “If this is not the case, I will play my role as captain and especially as the big brother to push my young team-mates to victory.”

Cameroon’s manager, Volker Finke, has called on his team to be positive against the Croatians, who are bottom of the group after losing to Brazil. “We must be ready to face the challenge,” the German said. “There were positives [in the last match], we were able to create chances and played some good football.

 

“Croatia have great players plying their trade in Spain and Germany and we must remain very cautious even if we both lost our first game. But in football, the worst thing you can do is call everything into question. That doesn’t work. In my opinion, you can’t succeed like that. Doubts will drive you crazy. They lead to other doubts and you can’t perform well when you start having doubts.”

Mario Mandzukic should return up front for Croatia after suspension, while Luka Modric is almost certain to play after concerns about a foot injury against Brazil.

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