With one more match left to play in the 2014 World Cup for Cameroon, the team has already made their exit mentally.
Late in 4-0 loss to Croatia, two Cameroon players were involved in a small scuffle. Beniot Assou-Ekotto head-butted teammate Benjamin Moukandjo. It is unclear what caused Assou-Ekotto to go after a teammate. However, the onset of a frustrating loss to Croatia may have sparked the outburst.
Yet, this was not the first action taken by a Cameroon player during the match. Near the 40th minute, Cameroon midfielder Alex Song was immediately given a red card after driving his elbow into the back of Croatian player Mario Mandzukic. Unfazed, Mandzukic went on to score two goals in the match.
The most recent red card gives Cameroon seven red cards in 19 World Cup matches since 1990.
Playing without Samuel Eto’o, Cameroon was still in a position to advance after losing to Mexico 1-0 in their World Cup opening match. Eto’o is out due to a knee injury.
Cameroon has arguably been the best African nation in the history of the World Cup. Thus far, Cameroon has seven appearances in the tournament, which includes qualifying for four straight World Cups between 1990 and 200. Cameroon also made it to the quarterfinal in 1990, the first African nation to do so.
Although the source of the inner turmoil among the Cameroonian players is unknown, the damage is already done. With two losses, Cameroon will be eliminated after playing against Brazil.
As of now, Cameroon can only play to ruin the tournament for the host country. A win against Brazil would open the possibility for Mexico and Croatia to advance if Croatia were to defeat Mexico.
Luckily, Cameroon’s coaches and players will have a few years to smooth over their current problems before they need to worry about another World Cup.