BRASILIA, Brazil (AP) — It started with the threat of a strike, contained two big defeats, involved a scuffle between teammates and ended with star player Samuel Eto'o on the sidelines. Overall, it was a calamitous World Cup campaign for Cameroon.
As lopsided as it was, the 4-1 loss to Brazil on Monday was the best game of an unhappy tournament for one of Africa's former powerhouse teams.
"We played well in the first half when we trailed 2-1," Cameroon coach Valker Finke said. "But overall, our whole campaign was a disappointment."
That's something of an understatement.
Cameroon's troubles started even before the team got on the plane to Brazil.
The players had refused to board a flight because of a long-running dispute over bonus payments for the tournament, forcing their national federation to take out a loan to meet their demands.
When that was temporarily settled, Cameroon opened with a 1-0 to Mexico and then a 4-0 defeat to Croatia — results which dropped Finke's squad out of World Cup contention well before the encounter against the tournament hosts.
This Cameroon squad was nothing like the 1990 World Cup team, which beat then defending champion Argentina in the opening match before going on to become the first African team to reach the quarterfinals.