While Cameroon’s chances of advancing further in the World Cup are still slim, Tite will rotate his Brazil team for their last Group G match. The five-time world champions have already advanced to the knockout round and will win the pool unless Switzerland wins with a big goal swing and they lose to Cameroon.
Nevertheless, the African side still has a great deal to play for as they must win to have any chance of making it to the second round for the first time since 1990. Brazil are unbeaten in final group stage games at the World Cup, while Cameroon have never managed a win at this stage in their entire history.
Tite is almost certain to rotate his team for the final group stage game with qualification sealed, similar to Didier Deschamps, who fielded a number of players who were not exactly first-choice. The same is expected in Brazil’s case as well, even more so due to the injury situation of Neymar Jr, whose current condition is not fully known.
Brazil possess incredible depth in their squad, with the likes of Gilson Bremer, Gabriel Jesus, Antony, Fabinho, as well as the legendary Dani Alves, not even being amongst the starters for Tite in this World Cup. Most of these names will be involved in Friday’s encounter. News from sources close to the Brazilian side also suggests that Alves could don the captain’s armband in what is the veteran’s last international tournament with his country.
Although the Selecao have made it through to the knockouts, it remains unlikely that the former Barcelona full-back will take further part in the tournament apart from the odd appearance off the bench, and therefore the last group stage game is perhaps an ideal tribute to a legend of the game.
There is a huge possibility that Vinicius Jr could start on the bench against Cameroon, especially due to Neymar’s injury. Tite will want to take absolutely no chances as he prepares his side for the knockout rounds.
If Vinicius Jr starts against Cameroon on Friday, the young Real Madrid superstar will no doubt be one of the most exciting players on the pitch. His lightning pace along with his outstanding technique makes him a handful for any defender.
The 22-year-old winger scored 17 goals and also registered an impressive 10 assists in LaLiga last season. He also scored four goals in the Champions League, including the winner in the final, as Real Madrid lifted their 14th Champions League title.
Vinicius has started off this season in fine fashion as well, scoring six goals and three assists. The blistering winger will be a huge factor in the game against Cameroon in the event Tite decides to start him.
Newcastle United midfielder Bruno Guimaraes has been mighty impressive since his move to the Magpies in January. The 25-year-old has fit perfectly into Eddie Howe’s side, taking over the number six position. He has quickly established himself as one of the best in the business in the Premier League. With quite the shot on him, Guimaraes has scored more than a few bangers in his time in the English top flight, and the same could be expected of him come the Cameroon game.
Bayern Munich striker Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting has been in excellent form for both club and country, as he comes off a spectacular goal against finalists in the 2018 edition, Croatia, in his country’s gripping 3-3 draw in the previous game. Choupo-Moting capitalised on a fast break as he scored the equalising goal.
The 33-year-old has been in great touch for Bayern as well, as he has made the most of his opportunities after Robert Lewandowski’s move to Barcelona. A wonderful striker of the ball, Choupo-Moting could have a huge role to play if his nation is to go through.
Even though Vincent Aboubakar has twice been on the sidelines, he could scarcely have done more to secure a starting position. He made history against Serbia by becoming the first substitute in a World Cup game for an African team to both score and assist a goal. Additionally, he was instrumental against Croatia as Cameroon staged a superb comeback from a 3-1 deficit to draw the game at 3-3 just 11 minutes after Aboubakar came on.
While a Cameroon upset does not seem too improbable, when the possibility of a second-string Brazilian side is considered, it must be noted that the Selecao still have a number of world-class players that could tip the scales firmly in their favour.
On paper, the Brazilian side, even a side filled with players who have found themselves on the bench in this tournament, could be beyond Cameroon’s reach. A qualifying berth for Cameroon seems very unlikely as Tite’s side goes into the game as huge favourites.