Neutral viewers hoping for an exciting game between Mexico and Cameroon should plead for an early goal for the Africans, as El Tri is prepared to put forth a gritty, backloaded defensive formation out to kick off its Group A play.
The match kicks off at Noon ET. Here’s what you need to know:
Mexico: Ochoa, Aguilar, Rodríguez, Moreno, Márquez, Layún, Vázquez, Guardado, Herrera, Dos Santos, Peralta
Cameroon: Itandje; Nkoulou, Djeugoue, Chedjou, Assou Ekotto; Song, Mbia, Enoh, Choupo Moting, Moukandjo, Eto’o
1. Mexico is going to grind. Miguel Herrera is pushing every blue-collar, desperate button for his El Tri team as Mexico prepares for its World Cup opener against Cameroon later this afternoon.
The 46-year-old former Club America boss isn’t guaranteeing anything, but is confident his players are going to leave everything on the pitch.
“Every training session leaves me easy and calm knowing every player will leave their last bead of sweat and last breath on the field to please the Mexican fans,” Herrera told a news conference on Thursday. “We will fight to the death.”
2. Cameroon’s bonus battle’s behind them. The players refused to board the plane that would take them to World Cup in a protest over unpaid bonuses that was ultimately settled.
Cameroon coach Volker Finke said the ordeal was not a big deal.
“I think you have to respect a difference in culture. It’s not something to be judged from the outside. Somebody in Germany, or in France, can’t understand how things happen in Cameroon,” Volke said. “It works for people in Cameroon. Just respect the way things happen in Africa. We found a solution.”
Expectation: Mexico packs five, six and seven deep against Samuel Eto’o and company while hoping its counterattack can be the fuel to a winning fire.
One blogger’s prediction: High-tension but not necessarily excitement as the teams play to a 1-1 draw.