Cameroon vs. Australia
Date and Time: Thursday, June 22, 2017, 11 a.m. ET
Location: Krestovsky Stadium, Saint Petersburg, Russia
Soccer Odds: Cameroon +145, O/U 2.5
Cameroon vs. Australia TV Coverage: FOX Sports 1
Chile and Germany were clearly the two better sides in the opening fixtures in Group B in spite of the fact that they were only 2-0 and 3-2 winners respectively. Both matches easily could have been 5-0 had a few little things gotten cleaned up, and both losers were very fortunate to ultimately avoid embarrassment.
Australia at least had a few positive things going forward in attack. The Aussies were on the front foot for much of the second half, though it was a pair of goals on either side of halftime that put them on the scoring sheet. Tom Rogic briefly equalized for Australia after falling behind 1-0 early, but after Germany made it 3-1, Tomi Juric came back and drew the Socceroos back within a goal. They had their chances to level the proceeds in the last half hour but just flat out couldn’t get the job done.
Neutrals will be quick to point out that the Aussie goals weren't really things of beauty. Germany's Bernd Leno had an awful day in the pipes, and the two goals he allowed were both awfully soft.
Cameroon couldn't get anything going forward against the Chileans. The Indomitable Lions had just one shot on target over the course of the 90 minutes and just eight shots in totality. All of the best opportunities seemed to come against the run of play, and it felt like the whole match was just a big waiting game for Chile to finally break the ice. Of course, the South American reps did in a big way in both the 81st and 90th minutes to win 2-0, but the final score should have been much more emphatic than that.
Both of these teams are coming from really weak confederations, but we can't help but wonder if Cameroon's lack of trips outside of Africa in friendly matches will come back to be a problem here. The Lions looked absolutely lost against top flight competition, and it felt like style was a big problem.
African sides in general prefer to try to overpower their opponents with raw strength, and that just isn't going to play here against Chile and Germany, teams with far more skill. Australia doesn't fit that mold, but as we saw when the Aussies were solid at times against Germany, at least its more European-looking tactics have some staying power.
Cameroon vs. Australia Free Picks
Still, there's every reason to find Australia to be the right side in this match, and that has to be scary for bettors. The Aussies have the two goals against Germany to their ledger, and they certainly passed the eye test between the two sides.
That said, there's a reason why the Cameroonians are favored. They've got a midfield with Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa, Georges Mandjeck and captain Benjamin Moukandjo who are all used to playing top level European soccer in Ligue 1 in France, and they could be the leaders of this team in a match that should ultimately go their way. Don't expect this to be a work of art, but if we had to bank on a moment of brilliance, we'd think it would be coming from the Lions.
Cameroon vs. Australia Soccer Pick: Cameroon +145 at BookMaker.eu
Cameroon vs. Australia Score Prediction: Cameroon 1, Australia 0