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Africa’s World Cup hopes fade 0

PRETORIACameroon’s exit from the World Cup could be the start of a run of calamities for the continent over the next days as the African challenge at the 2010 World Cup fast fades.

A second successive defeat for the Indomitable Lions, this time 2-1 against Denmark at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria on Saturday, means they are the first side to be mathematically eliminated from the competition.

It is the end of a topsy-turvy period for Cameroon, who battled in the World Cup qualifiers but then staged a strong recovery to qualify for an African record sixth appearance at the finals.

French coach Paul Le Guen, appointed last August when the Lions looked as if they would miss out on the World Cup, was credited with engineering a strong revival but chinks in the armour were all too evident at the African Nations Cup in Angola at the start of the year.

Le Guen sought subsequently to strengthen the side by bringing in two German-born players of Cameroon descent and a former under-21 international, but his tinkering proved too much.

The selection in the opening World Cup game against Japan was eccentric and led to a surprise defeat in a match that Cameroon were expected to win.

A player revolt had Le Guen change his team for Saturday’s match but defensive errors saw them caught again as the Danes profited from too much ball watching by Cameroon to get themselves back into the game and ultimately go on to win.

Squandered chances again reflected the paucity of strike talent upfront for Cameroon, who have battled hard over the years to find a decent partner for captain Samuel Eto’o.

Cameroon had opportunity for several more goals in a game in which Denmark were also far from convincing at the back.

Cameroon’s departure is expected to be followed by that of hosts South Africa and winless Nigeria on Tuesday. Algeria are also in a precarious position, leaving Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire* as the last two hopes for progress to the next phase.

* This article was published few hours before Brazil-Ivory Coast. Brazilians beat Ivorians 3 to 1.

By Mark Gleeson –

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Direttore Responsabile Giuseppe Frangi