Brazil (1-0-1) vs. Cameroon (0-2-0), 4 p.m. (ET)
06/23/2014 9:08 AM
06/23/2014 9:13 AM
Brasilia, Brazil (SportsNetwork.com) - Brazil will aim to secure a place in the knockout round as well as the top spot in Group A on Monday with a win over Cameroon at the Estadio Nacional.
The hosts enter the match level with Mexico on four points at the top of the group, and with a marginally better goal difference, three points against the African side on Monday will give Brazil a great chance at winning the group.
Brazil's last match saw the side held to a 0-0 draw by Mexico, which followed a 3-1 victory over Croatia to start the tournament. But despite the Selecao only earning one point against Mexico, head coach Luiz Felipe Scolari felt the performance was better in the second game.
"In my opinion - it's my own, not that of the critics - the team played better than they did against Croatia," Scolari said. "There was at least an extra 10 percent than what there was against Croatia.
"The team has evolved. We can still improve, but we can still qualify for the next round. We showed quality, so I am satisfied."
Brazil created the better chances in the match against Mexico, but was denied by some inspired goalkeeping from El Tri's Guillermo Ochoa.
"The result wasn't what we wanted but the only thing missing for us was a goal," said Scolari.
Neymar had a pair of chances thwarted by the Mexican netminder, while Ochoa saved a header from Thiago Silva at point-blank range in the closing minutes to preserve a point for his team.
Mexico has traditionally been a tough opponent for Brazil, but Scolari's men should feel confident of getting three points against Cameroon, which has already been eliminated from the tournament.
The Indomitable Lions lost their first two games by a combined score of 5-0, including a 4-0 defeat to Croatia last time out, meaning that Cameroon has now been eliminated in the group stage in its past five World Cups.
Against Croatia, Cameroon went down 1-0 in the 11th minute to a goal from Ivica Olic, but things really fell apart shortly before halftime when Alex Song was sent off.
From there, Croatia added three goals after the break, including two from Mario Mandzukic, leaving head coach Volker Finke to digest another early exit.
"It's a tough result to take. It's always difficult to play with 10 men, but that's still no excuse for tonight's performance," Finke said following the loss to Croatia. "There's no doubt that Croatia were more clinical in front of goal, but Cameroon also had chances to score. We need to move on and look to the future, because this team is full of promising players."
Finke is trying to put a positive spin on things for Cameroon, but on Monday, his team will simply be trying to spoil the party for the hosts before heading home.
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