Switzerland vs Cameroon Prediction
24th November 2022
13:00 Qatar Time/10:00 GMT
Al Janoub Stadium, Al Wakrah
Current Form (Last Five Matches):
Switzerland vs Cameroon Prediction Match Overview
The first game of Group G sees the European nation Switzerland take on Africans Cameroon in Al Wakrah. It is an early kick-off, 1 pm local time, so the weather may favour the Cameroonians. The Swiss are ranked 15th in the world, and Cameroon are 43rd.
Switzerland enter the match in mixed form. In recent months there have been impressive narrow wins against Portugal and Spain in the UEFA Nations League. However, they ultimately finished third in their group with a -3 goal difference, though they did well to keep pace with the two Iberian nations. More recently, a loss to fellow qualifiers Ghana in their warm-up match for the tournament was not ideal. The Swiss score few goals, having registered only six in their six Nations League matches.
Cameroon enter the match in relatively poor form. They have only won one game in their last five, a narrow win against minnows Burundi. There have also been disappointing losses to South Korea and Uzbekistan and underwhelming draws with Panama and Jamaica. They have only scored three goals across those five games, so they are undoubtedly short and timid in front of goal. They will need to improve their firepower to stand any chance in this group.
Injuries and Suspensions
Will not play:
Might not play: Sommer (Switzerland)
Switzerland vs Cameroon Prediction Analysis
Both teams will likely line up in a 4-3-3 formation. However, both are naturally cautious and will probably revert to five in midfield when they don’t have the ball. Switzerland tend to concede possession against the better teams. However, against a side as modest as Cameroon, we expect them to have more of the ball. In goal, Yann Sommer is a steady and reliable presence. He must distribute the ball well to his defence. Manuel Akanji and Nico Elvedi at centre-back are good options, with Akanji having made an excellent start to his Manchester City career. They should provide a solid base, and they are elegant on the ball. Ricardo Rodriguez and Silvan Widmer will be expected at full-back to get forward and support the attackers. Indeed, Rodriguez still gets up and down the pitch, and he can help Ruben Vargas on the overlap and link play with him.
On the other side, Widmer can do the same with Xherdan Shaqiri. Shaqiri is the Swiss talisman and possesses a wand of a left foot. He will look to cross the ball for Breel Embolo up front or, more often, cut inside on his strong left foot and unleash his trademark powerful shot. Embolo is a talented player with good dribbling, movement and a good shot of his own. The front three will attempt to give Cameroon’s back four a torrid time. Indeed, Nouhou Tolo and Collins Fai will try to get forward to support the Cameroonian attack. However, they must be mindful of the threat in behind that the Swiss wide players provide. Cameroon will likely be pinned back for periods of the match. Their best bet is counter-attacking on transitions with the pace and driving ability of Pierre Kunde and Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa.
Indeed, the midfield battle should be an interesting one. Granit Xhaka has been in fine form for Arsenal this season, and as captain, he takes on much of the leadership burden for the Swiss. It will be up to him and Remo Freuler to screen the defence when the tricky Karl Toko Ekambi, Vincent Aboubakar, and Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting have the ball. Toko Ekambi, in particular, has good dribbling skills and is a box of tricks. Xhaka has a poor disciplinary record, and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him carded in this match. Widmer must be mindful of Toko Ekambi, and Remo Freuler and Xhaka must position themselves well to help him and not allow the Cameroonians to isolate the Swiss full-backs. Zambo Anguissa is having a fantastic season for Napoli. Even though he is nominally a defensive midfielder, he does like to make surging runs forward and get in the box (as stated). The Swiss must keep him from overpowering them on transitions. Djibril Sow will be expected to support the attack for the Swiss. He will likely play a little further forward than Xhaka and Freuler and try to link midfield and attack. The Swiss are slightly more potent in the midfield area, though Zambo Anguissa and Kunde are quality players.
Both sides can introduce substitutes to freshen things up. Switzerland have Fabian Schar, who could be a factor in their defence. Denis Zakaria is a powerful option in midfield to combat Zambo Anguissa. Fabian Frei could also be given a chance. In attack, limited goalscorer Haris Seferovic and exciting youngster Noah Okafor could be introduced. Okafor can play anywhere across the front line as he is a tricky customer. Some Cameroonian changes could be Martin Hongla or Olivier Ntcham in midfield. They also have the option to start with or introduce wild card winger Bryan Mbeumo, who is doing well with Brentford at the age of 23.
Switzerland Key Players
As stated, Xhaka is the heartbeat and leader of this team, and his ability to win the midfield battle will be imperative if Switzerland are to win this match. Up against the Cameroonian three, Kunde and the dynamic Zambo Anguissa will provide a particularly stiff challenge. Xhaka can rise to the occasion, however. He must be diligent and cover spaces on transitions when Switzerland lose the ball. His expansive passing will also be a factor, given that he is very good at playing incisive diagonals over the top to get Shaqiri, Embolo, and Vargas in behind. As stated, his disciplinary record is poor, so he must be careful of cards in this match against some tricky and fast Cameroon attackers.
As Switzerland’s best player, it is up to Shaqiri to be creative and inventive and provide the moments of magic to help them win this game. Up against Nouhou Tolo, he will look to take the left-back on and beat him with his dribbling and trickery. If he can come inside Tolo, he will have the opportunity to unleash his explosive shot. He might also play slide-rule passes for Embolo or Sow running into the box. He is also a good crosser of the ball, and his wand of a left foot will be vital at set pieces. Shaqiri certainly possesses that sprinkle of magic dust which can win a tight game from nothing. He is the wild card in a relatively conservative and pragmatic Swiss side which doesn’t score many goals.
Cameroon Key Players
Switzerland are likely to have more possession, and Shaqiri and Xhaka are both great shooters. Therefore, the Inter goalkeeper’s role in this game is crucial. He must come off his line to sweep up when Xhaka or Shaqiri play those cute little balls behind the Cameroon defence. The Swiss will also challenge his shot-stopping ability; the Europeans aren’t scared to have a go from range. Overall, he must have a great game if Cameroon are to get anything out of this. The Cameroonians are goal-shy and don’t score many, so they must do everything in their power to keep a clean sheet in this match, as they are unlikely to score more than one. In this respect, Onana’s performance will be paramount.
Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa
We considered giving a key player slot to Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting, given his excellent form at Bayern this season. However, we settled on Zambo Anguissa, given how well he has played for Napoli and his essential role in this match. His dynamic box-to-box style will be crucial, as he has the energy to both protect the defence and travel forward on transitions when Cameroon win the ball. He is strong defensively, and creative in attack and will therefore be a significant weapon for the Africans in this match. His battle with Xhaka and Freuler will go a long way to deciding the game’s outcome. Indeed, he must try to stop Xhaka from having the time to play cute little balls and control the match. In this sense, Zambo Anguissa’s pressing and passing ability will be vital to gaining some ground for Cameroon in this game.
Switzerland vs Cameroon Prediction
This game could be pragmatic, as both teams are goal-shy and clearly prize organisation and defence first. There are match-winners on both sides, however. Zambo Anguissa, Toko Ekambi, Choupo-Moting, and Mbeumo are all physically and technically gifted players who can create something from nothing for Cameroon. Switzerland, for their part, have their front three and Xhaka, all of whom can produce a moment of magic out of thin air. This match will likely be a conservative one won by the odd goal. A mistake or moment of magic will probably decide it.