Brazil may have been all but out of the group going into the match against Cameroon, yet hadn’t done it in style. They had required the referee’s help to beat Croatia and were unconvincing against Mexico, but Cameroon should have provided an easier test, making a strong case for them being the tournament’s worst team against Mexico and Croatia.
Luiz Felipe Scolari recalled Hulk into his 4-2-3-1 at the expense of Ramires and Volker Finke continued with the 4-3-3 but made a number of changes to his defence and midfield.
Unlike their previous two games, Cameroon pressed high up the pitch against the Brazilian defence with some success, pouncing on some lazy passes early on. This shifted the Cameroon midfield high up the pitch though, leaving the defence lacking cover. Combine this with the Brazil attackers pressing, and the Cameroon defence had a tough evening.
Given the difficulty Brazil have had breaking down teams, it might have been better for Cameroon to sit back, but instead Brazil were able to hit long balls forward and pressure the second ball. Kick and rush, basically.
The first goal came from Luis Gustavo stealing the ball from Benjamin Moukandjo and hitting a cross in to Neymar while the Cameroon defence was at sea. They equalised from a set-piece but Brazil took the lead again not long after – a long ball was sent forward, Cameroon headed it away, Brazil pressured whoever picked it up and got it to Neymar for his second. They didn’t surrender their lead again, grabbing another two goals as they dominated the game.
There was some good play on show from Brazil at last, but Cameroon played into their hands. The only thing to really take from the match is that Fernandinho is far superior to Paulinho, having done more after the half-time switch than the Spurs man has in three games.