Breel Embolo’s goal took Switzerland to a 1-0 victory over Cameroon at the World Cup and he kept his promise not to celebrate scoring against his native country.
The Swiss striker from Yaounde struck with a right-footed shot in the 48th minute, standing eight yards alone in the center of the goal mouth to take Xherdan Shaqiri’s low pass.
Embolo then pursed his lips in a wry smile and held his arms wide, before raising his hands in an apologetic gesture as teammates ran towards him at the penalty spot.
He pointed to Swiss fans behind the goal where he had scored and then to Cameroonian supporters in the opposite corner of the Al Janoub stadium.
The 25-year-old attacker left Cameroon with his family when he was five. They spent time in France before settling in Switzerland, the country he is now representing at a second World Cup.
Although an African-born player scored, teams from Africa are now winless in the four games they have played in this World Cup.
All have played higher-ranked teams, with Morocco and Tunisia drawing 0–0 against Croatia and Denmark respectively.
Cameroon’s streak of defeats in World Cup finals stretched to eight games dating back to 2002.
Brazil and Serbia are also in Group G and will meet at 6am (AEDT).
In the move for Embolo to score, it was too easy for the Swiss to quickly pass the ball from the left flank to the right through Cameroon’s defensive lines.
Switzerland’s brisk start to the second half contrasted with a lack of urgency in the first half that could hardly be explained by the 1pm local time kick-off – one of only seven games in Qatar to be played entirely in daylight. The heat peaked at 80 degrees Fahrenheit, humidity was low and most of the playing field was in shade.
Cameroon squandered a clear scoring chance to take control in the 10th minute.
A long, straight pass past Switzerland’s centre-backs led to Karl Toko Ekambi firing a half-volley high over the crossbar from just 10 yards out.
Cameroon applied little pressure to level the match. Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa’s header in the 66th was aimed directly at goalkeeper Yann Sommer who made an easy save.
In the next play, a Swiss move down the right flank nearly repeated the goal, but goalkeeper Andre Onana saved from Ruben Vargas.
Switzerland next play Group H favorites Brazil, while Cameroon are set to meet Serbia.