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On air: Why did Cameroon's Lions become so domitable?

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Ben Sutherland Ben Sutherland | 21:15 UK time, Saturday, 19 June 2010

cameroon386.jpgThis topic was discussed on World Cup Have Your Say on 20 June 2010. Listen to the programme.

There is a certain bitter irony to the fact that the first African team to make a real impact on the World Cup should be the first to bow out of the first tournament on African soil.

Cameroon's defeat to Denmark in Tshwane - or The City Formerly Known As Pretoria - has left the Indomitable Lions in serious danger of having their nickname confiscated by the Trades Descriptions Act.

Despite the presence of Samuel Eto'o, undeniably one of the greatest strikers playing in Europe over the last few years, they have become the first team definitely unable to qualify for the second round after the Danes took advantage of some horrific defending in an encounter that was one of the tournament's most entertaining matches so far.

And this from the highest-ranked African side in the competition.

Before the tournament began, coach Paul Le Guen had spoken of his hopes of matching the achievements of the Cameroon side of 1990, when Roger Milla's heroics took them to a quarter-final against England.

Instead, Le Guen has found himself criticising the players' attitude and rueing a couple of dreadful defensive lapses.

They were too easily exposed against Denmark, despite being gifted an opening goal from Eto'o following a backpass from Simon Kjaer that was not so much a hospital pass as one heading for an entire Pfizer factory.

Their problems have not arisen as a complete surprise. As my colleague Piers Edwards pointed out before the tournament kicked off, Le Guen was unsure from the start how to deploy Eto'o - which led to him also being uncertain of his best formation.

Eto'o even suggested he might not even go to South Africa after being criticised by Milla.

Ultimately, the Inter Milan man ended up on the right wing - which failed dismally when the team unexpectedly lost to Japan in their first match.

Le Guen blamed that defeat on the players for being "tense and nervous."

Meanwhile Amos Adamu, of the Caf and Fifa Executive Committees, told the BBC on Friday that many of Africa's teams had been too casual, with the coaches' attitudes being:

"[Because] we have good players in Europe, and don't need to prepare. But it's not the same thing playing for the national team where you have to blend players from different places."

So what do you think has caused Cameroon's crash?

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