Qatar: Switzerland edged past Cameroon 1-0 courtesy of a goal against the run of play by Cameroon-born Breel Embolo on Thursday for an opening win in World Cup Group G.
Embolo, born in Yaounde but raised in Basel, struck three minutes after the restart from a Xherdan Shaqiri cutback to put them top of the section.
Switzerland’s Breel Embolo scores the only goal of the match.Credit:AP
The 25-year-old refused to celebrate the goal as the small group of Swiss fans cheered wildly at Al Janoub Stadium.
The Swiss goal came after Cameroon, without a win in the World Cup for 20 years, had dominated the first half, missing several good chances to take the lead.
The Indomitable Lions, who eliminated Algeria in a playoff to qualify for the tournament, had outplayed the Swiss in the first 45 minutes with quick combinations, speed and power as their opponents remained toothless up front.
They carved out their first chance after 10 minutes with Bryan Mbeumo testing goalkeeper Yann Sommer before Karl Toko Ekambi sent his rebound over the bar.
Cameroon’s Collins Fai, left, heads the ball next to Switzerland’s Ruben Vargas.Credit:AP
The Swiss were in trouble again a little later with in-form forward Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting snatching the ball from an opponent to charge into the box, only for Sommer to block his effort.
In search of their first win at a World Cup in 20 years, Cameroon were bolder, taking on their opponents in one-on-one situations, while the Swiss rarely managed to get into their opponents’ box.
Switzerland, who reached the round of 16 in the two previous World Cups, struck at the start of the second half with Xherdan Shaqiri cutting into the box and Embolo tapping in what proved to be the winner.
An almost identical move just past the hour almost saw the Swiss score again but Ruben Vargas’s shot was pushed wide by keeper Andre Onana, who kept his team in the game.
The Swiss now play Brazil on Monday, with Cameroon taking on Serbia.
Uruguay draw with South Korea
Uruguay faltered in their World Cup opener against a lively and energetic South Korea after they were held to a 0-0 draw in Group H.
Clear-cut chances were rare for either side at the Education City Stadium and although Uruguay created more goalscoring opportunities, neither team were able to register a shot on target.
Uruguay captain Diego Godin was denied by the woodwork while South Korea forward Hwang Ui-jo blasted over the bar, leaving both teams to rue missed chances.
South Korean superstar Son Heung-min failed to pull any rabbits out of his hat.Credit:AP
Uruguay’s first sight of goal came in the 19th minute through Federico Valverde, who connected with Jose Maria Gimenez’s pass and took a touch before firing a half-volley towards goal, but his ambitious attempt went just over the bar.
The South Americans had begun to find their footing when South Korea, having been patient so far, disrupted their rhythm and launched a counter-attack from a Uruguay corner before the half-hour mark.
Son Heung-min picked up the ball on the left flank and cut inside, skipping past two Uruguay defenders before curling a right-footed effort towards goal, but left back Mathias Olivera was able to clear it away.
South Korea should have taken the lead in the 34th minute when Moon-hwan Kim fizzed the ball into the penalty area and into the path of Hwang in front of goal, but the forward could not keep his composure and sent it over the crossbar.
The closest Uruguay came to scoring in the first half was just before the break, when centre back Godin rose highest to power a header from Valverde’s corner, but it bounced off the left post and away from goal.
Gimenez made a crucial tackle to deny Son five minutes after the restart after a flowing move from South Korea, while Jung Woo-young blocked midfielder Rodrigo Bentancur’s powerful strike at the other end.
Uruguay saw more of the ball but found few chances to break through the South Korean defence until the closing stages, when Valverde unleashed a thunderbolt in the final minute of regulation time that struck the top of the post.
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