With the first two games played in Group A, it’s advantage Latin America.
To say the Amazon climate would benefit the West Africans is something of a cliche, as most of the Cameroon players are based in the Europe.
The opening two games at Brazil 2014 were not without controversy though.
In the opening game of the tournament, the soft penalty awarded to Brazil was hard on Croatia while Cameroon can thank the Colombian linesman for keeping their scoreline down; it should have been three.
These World Cup matches are so important that to let just one person with a flag or whistle be the all-deciding judge sometimes makes a mokery of the technology available to help judicate close calls in a fast-moving game.
If only football fans could be allowed to discuss the performance of players rather than the incompetence of officials.
Even without home advantage, Brazil would be expected to cruise past Cameroon, Croatia and Mexico in Group A.
While many will be looking to Neymar and Oscar to produce the goods for the hosts, Fred and Paulinho may be the ones who call the shots in the final third.
If all four are on fire, that’s a lot for the opposition to deal with; without the added threats of Dani Alves and Marcello raiding down the flanks from deep.
There may be some doubts if Julio Cesar is chosen to guard the goal behind Brazil’s central defenders, but if you score more goals than the oposition, victory is assured.
Cameroon had their best World Cup in Italia 90, when Roger Milla helped them make it to extra-time in the Naples quarter-final against England. This time out, Samuel Eto’o will be trying to show the world that an older striker can still offer an enthusiastic team a goal threat up front; although Jean Makoun may be the real player to watch.
Croatia set the world alight at France 98, when they finished third and Davor Suker was bagging the goals. With Mario Mandzukic suspended for the opening game against Brazil, Croatia may not get off to the best of starts against Brazil.
If Cameroon and Croatia share the points in the humidity of Manaus, a lot will then come down to how they deal with Mexico in the north-eastern venues of Natal and Recife.
Mexico meet Cameroon first, in Natal. Mexico will need to get off to a winning start, before meeting the hosts in Fortaleza, if they hope to reach the last 16 for the sixth time in succession.
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