Brazil's defeat to Cameroon is "a warning signal" they must heed ahead of the World Cup knockout rounds, says Dani Alves.

The Selecao fielded a much-changed side in their final Group G match, with progression to the last 16 already secured.

But a late Vincent Aboubakar finish condemned Tite's side to a shock 1-0 loss in Lusail, to check Brazil's momentum heading forward.

With a last-16 tie against South Korea now confirmed, veteran defender Alves - who skippered his nation against Cameroon - believes it is a reminder that there is no safety net now for his side.

"It's a warning signal," he said. "There is no weak rival. Here is the lesson, we need to stay switched on throughout the game. One detail and it's over.

"We end today with the feeling that a beautiful day slipped through the hands of us players who weren't playing much."

Brazil arrived at Qatar 2022 as the pre-tournament favourites, a record enhanced after two strong opening performances against Switzerland and Serbia prior to the defeat to Cameroon.

Despite the likes of Germany, Belgium and Uruguay tumbling out of the competition, Brazil face a difficult path to the final should they get past South Korea, with Argentina and the Netherlands among their potential semi-final opponents.

Tite warned Brazil must be "very careful" in the knockout stage of the World Cup, when they will hope to have Neymar back from injury.

The Selecao lost 1-0 to Cameroon on Friday but still topped Group G, meaning they will face South Korea in the second round, rather than Portugal.

Spain's defeat the previous day appeared to open up the draw further for Brazil, who would now play the winner of Japan's clash with Croatia in the quarter-finals.

Regardless of their opponents, Brazil will feel more comfortable once Neymar is back in action, but he has not yet trained with a ball following his matchday one injury.

Team doctor Rodrigo Lasmar added: "With 72 hours before the next match, we have time on our side. We still have possibilities."

With or without his star man, coach Tite certainly will not become complacent, explaining: "Brazil lost to Cameroon. Portugal lost to South Korea. France lost to Tunisia. Argentina lost to Saudi Arabia. I think the results speak for themselves.

"I think these are very strong, very tough matches. I don't think we can think any prior situation makes it easy. We need to be very careful.

"We were very careful with the match against Cameroon. We were. We had all of those cares, we took them. They had their merits, played vertically very well. They have merit for the victory like Tunisia and the others.

"We can't say it's easier and we have an advantage. We can't say that."

Tite had made nine changes to his Brazil team, selecting an entirely different XI to that which started their finals opener.

But he said: "Who lost? All of us. Our preparation is joint preparation, our wins are joint wins, our losses are also joint losses."

The coach called on Brazil to "feel the loss", saying: "The World Cup doesn't give you a second chance, but this time it did.

"We have to concentrate for 24 hours, suffer for 24 hours, and tomorrow we start getting ready."

Besides Neymar's progress, there was mixed news on the injury front, with Alex Sandro still recovering alongside the forward but Danilo set to train normally on Saturday.

That is a timely boost as Alex Telles and Gabriel Jesus are set for scans on knee injuries sustained against Cameroon.

Rigobert Song expressed regret over Cameroon's first two World Cup displays after they were eliminated from Group G despite becoming the first African team to beat Brazil at the tournament.

Cameroon needed to beat the pre-tournament favourites to have any chance of joining them in the last 16 on Friday, and they did so in dramatic fashion as Vincent Aboubakar scored a stoppage-time winner before receiving a second yellow card for celebrating by removing his shirt.

However, Switzerland's thrilling 3-2 win over Serbia ensured Murat Yakin's side finished two points clear of Cameroon, condemning them to a sixth consecutive group-stage exit at the World Cup.

The Indomitable Lions did at least go out on a high by ending Brazil's perfect World Cup record against African sides (previously played seven, won seven), but Song felt the result showed Cameroon could have gone further.

"I didn't even realise that this was such a historic victory. We are one of the African countries who have played more World Cups than most, and now we've beaten Brazil," Song said.

"My players deserve to be congratulated. They showed tonight they could have done better in the first two games [a 1-0 defeat to Switzerland and a 3-3 draw with Serbia].

"I think we do have a feeling of regret. Now we realise we could have done better. But we need to look on the positive side as well. 

"I'm trying to get across a team spirit, that lion's spirit, which needs to be the key to Cameroon teams.

"We realise now we could have done better in this tournament. We're a young team and today we've seen our young team getting stronger and stronger."

Cameroon began 2022 by finishing third at the Africa Cup of Nations on home soil, and with just over a year to prepare for the next edition of that tournament – which was pushed back to January 2024 due to weather concerns in Ivory Coast, Song is backing them to improve further.

"There's another tournament in 2024 and we've built up some momentum now," Song added.

"I'm satisfied with tonight's performance. I took over the national team not too long ago and I think we are progressing and improving, so I'm proud of this team."

Vincent Aboubakar fired Cameroon to a last-gasp 1-0 win over Brazil before being sent off on Friday, but it was not enough to save the Indomitable Lions from an early World Cup exit – or to prevent the Selecao from topping Group G.

Having seen Brazil secure a place in the round of 16 by beating Switzerland last time out, Tite made nine changes to his side, which resulted in a disjointed Selecao showing at the Lusail Stadium.

Devis Epassy kept Cameroon in the contest with several fine saves before Aboubakar nodded home a stoppage-time winner for Rigobert Song's men – and was promptly shown a second yellow card for removing his shirt.

However, the result was ultimately immaterial as Switzerland clung on to beat Serbia 3-2 in the group's other game, ensuring Brazil topped the pool and sealing Cameroon's elimination. 

Tite will rotate his Brazil squad for their final Group G match, but opponents Cameroon still face an uphill battle to make the last 16 of the World Cup.

Brazil are already through to the knockout stage and will top the pool unless they lose and Switzerland win with a significant goal swing.

Opponents Cameroon have plenty still to play for, on the other hand, as they must win to have any hope of reaching the second round for the first time since 1990.

They have never won their final group game at a finals, however, while Brazil are unbeaten at this stage in a record 17 matches.

And the Selecao have their own goals in mind, looking to take nine points from a possible nine for the first time since 2006.

"Being first is always the goal, regardless of who the opponent is in the next match," said Fabinho, one of the men set to come into the XI.

"Our focus is always to win the games, try to earn nine points and give our best. 

"Whoever will play will have the opportunity to wear the shirt of the Brazilian national team in a World Cup, so the thought of a winning team has to always be this, to enter, give the best, win and be the first."

 

Tite's first-choice stars have set a high standard, winning both games without conceding or even facing a single shot on target. They are the first team not to face a shot on target in their first two games at a World Cup since France in 1998.

"Personally, I don't think [maintaining the standard] brings pressure to us," added Fabinho. "I think playing in a World Cup is every player's dream. It's a once-in-a-lifetime thing.

"We have to face this with great joy, knowing the responsibility, come in and give our best. We know the way the team plays, the team is solid defensively.

"Sure, you have the worries of keeping that, the ideas, but I don't think it adds pressure. We don't feel that."

Cameroon have lost only two World Cup matches to South American teams, but both have been in their two meetings with Brazil, who have won all seven of their finals clashes with African opposition, scoring 20 goals and conceding just two.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Cameroon – Vincent Aboubakar

Aboubakar has twice appeared from the bench, yet he could hardly have done more to earn a starting berth. Against Serbia, he became the first substitute to both score and assist a goal in a World Cup match for an African nation, bringing Cameroon back from 3-1 down to 3-3 within 11 minutes of his introduction.

Brazil – Vinicius Junior

The Selecao may not need to risk playing Vinicius, with Neymar already injured, but it must be tough not to pick a man in this form. Only Kylian Mbappe (23) was involved in more open play sequences that ended with a shot than the winger (15) through two matchdays. Only Mbappe and Ismaila Sarr (four) created more chances following a carry (three).

PREDICTION

Even with the potential for changes in the Brazil XI, the supercomputer has no doubts about this one. Tite's men are massive 72.7 per cent favourites.

Cameroon must win but are given only a 10.6 per cent chance, with a draw that would confirm Brazil as group winners rated at 16.7 per cent.

Brazil star Neymar will be "back to his best" in time for the World Cup final, according to his father.

The Selecao have already qualified for the last 16 and only need a point to win their group after beating Switzerland and Serbia across their first two matches in Qatar.

However, Neymar suffered an ankle injury during the matchday-one victory over Serbia, ruling him out until the knockouts.

Brazil remain among the favourites to win the tournament despite Neymar's absence, which has a loose timeline.

But the forward – who is only two away from matching Pele's record haul of 77 goals for Brazil – will seemingly be back in plenty of time for the World Cup final, assuming Brazil make it that far, his father believes.

 

Speaking to talkSPORT through an interpreter, Neymar Sr said: "The most important thing is he can come back to the field and be at his best.

"When he was injured before and he came back again he was at his best. He will do his best.

"Everyone knows Neymar is very important, a great influence on the field and [on] all his colleagues. When Neymar is on the field it's totally different because he's number one. We know Neymar's importance to the group.

"I believe Neymar will be in the field again in the final match and he'll do his best to win the World Cup together with his colleagues in the Brazilian team.

"He'll do his best to help them and together win the competition."

Brazil face Cameroon in their final group game. They will meet the still undecided Group H runners-up if they do finish top.

The Selecao are aiming to win the tournament for the first time since 2002.

Brazil defender Dani Alves has no doubt over what he can offer to Tite's World Cup squad, despite being 39.

Former Barcelona and Juventus full-back Alves made the 26-man selection for Qatar, but is yet to feature at the tournament.

That seems set to change on Friday, with Tite set to ring the changes for Brazil's final Group G match against Cameroon, given the Selecao's place in the last 16 is already assured.

While acknowledging he is no longer at his peak, Alves – who made his Brazil debut in 2006 – is sure on just what he can bring to the team.

"[I'm] very proud to be able to be here," he said at a press conference.

"I have been doing so for many years with the squad, so to be able to wrap up this cycle by playing in the World Cup makes me very happy.

"When you work hard, dedicate yourself and go after what you want, you'll go places you would never have thought of. That's what life is giving me.

"All my 16 years on the squad, I have done my best for the team. Life always rewards the people who love what they do and do their very best on the mission.

"I am reaping what I have planted over those 16 years. It's normal that people question this because of my age or because I am not at my best, but at the World Cup it's not about being your best for a club, but having your best moment at the tournament.

"In the two matches that I wasn't present, our team needed a better defender in my position, I'm good as an attacker – that's a plan that we have established here, to know how the team plays and what will be demanded of a player.

"I am here to serve the team. If I have to play the drum, I will be the best drummer out there. 

"I know what I can do for the team and know there are other players at a better moment than I for what is requested. I know I can deliver, know what I can deliver.

"Trust is something you don't ask for, it's something you obtain. I have obtained the trust."

Tite believes Alves sets the prime example to the younger players in his squad.

"We represent people with a lot of love, a lot of pride, passion and dedication," Tite said.

"Dani is an example of that. He does everything with high quality. I greatly respect those who have got to where he has. He is much more than football, much more than a player on the pitch."

Two of the younger players Tite will be hoping are looking to emulate Alves are wingers Gabriel Martinelli and Antony, with both options to start against Cameroon.

Both players were featuring in Sao Paulo Youth Cup only three years ago, and Alves believes their success is proof hard work pays off.

"A few years ago they were playing a minor tournament and now they're at the World Cup," Alves said. "It shows their dedication, and shows how we need to mature quickly. They deserve to be here, that's their reward.

"We win when everybody plays at the same level, on and off the field. I think this is the most balanced team we have ever had."

Brazil will be without the injured Neymar and Danilo against Cameroon, though both have progressed to working in the swimming pool.

Should the Selecao win Group G, they will play against the runners-up of Group H on Monday in the last 16.

Neymar has been ruled out of Brazil's final World Cup group match against Cameroon, while Alex Sandro has joined the superstar forward and Danilo on the injury list.

Paris Saint-Germain star Neymar hobbled off in the 80th minute of Brazil's 2-0 win over Serbia last week with a lateral ligament injury to his right ankle.

The 30-year-old sat out Monday's victory over Switzerland, in which Casemiro scored a late winner, but no official timeframe was given for his recovery.

However, team doctor Rodrigo Lasmar confirmed on Tuesday that Neymar will play no part against Cameroon, with Brazil requiring a point to guarantee top spot in Group G.

Team-mate Danilo, who has a similar ankle problem to Neymar, will also not recover in time for Friday's match at Lusail Stadium, while Alex Sandro is suffering from a hip injury.

"After yesterday's game, Alex Sandro felt pain in his left hip and was unable to continue in the game," Lasmar said. 

"This morning he was reassessed. We took him for an MRI test, which showed a muscle injury in the left hip muscle. The player will not be able to participate in the next match.

"But he is still undergoing treatment so that we can recover him as soon as possible. 

"Danilo and Neymar are still recovering from ankle injuries. Each with a different treatment because they are different injuries."

 

Neymar was fouled nine times by Serbia players, which is one shy of Brazil's World Cup record of 10 set against Switzerland in 2018.

He was fouled a leading 44 times across the 2014 and 2018 World Cups combined – once every 21 minutes, more often than any other player impeded on at least 25 occasions.

With their victory over Switzerland, Brazil became the first side in World Cup history to go unbeaten in 17 consecutive group-stage matches in a run stretching back to 1998.

Andre Onana said there was "no will on the other side" to resolve differences after the Inter goalkeeper was suspended by Cameroon team management at the World Cup.

The 26-year-old looks to have had his last involvement at Qatar 2022, with reports indicating he planned to catch a flight out of the country on Tuesday.

Onana issued a statement in the wake of his shock demotion, which Cameroon team officials on Monday put down to undisclosed "disciplinary reasons". For his part, Onana denies behaving against the team's interests.

Coach Rigobert Song left the goalkeeper out against Serbia, preferring Devis Epassy for Monday's thrilling 3-3 World Cup draw.

Reports suggested Onana's omission came after a disagreement with Song over his playing style in the 1-0 loss against Switzerland, when he had the most touches outside the box by a goalkeeper ever recorded in a World Cup match (26).

Onana has denied that was the trigger, telling the Relevo website: "The game with the feet? No, there is nothing."

He issued a statement on Twitter, saying his suspension was tough to understand.

It read: "Yesterday I was not allowed to be on the ground to help Cameroon, as I always do, to achieve the team's goals. l always behaved in a way to lead the team to success in a good manner.

"I have put all my efforts and energy into finding solutions to a situation that a footballer often experiences, but there has been no will on the other side. Some moments are difficult to assimilate.

"However, I always respect and support the decisions of the people in charge of pursuing the success of our team and country. l extend all my strength to my team-mates because we demonstrated that we are capable of going very far in this competition.

"The values that I promote as a person and as a player are the ones that identify me, and that my family has given me since my childhood. Representing Cameroon has always been a privilege. The nation first and forever."

Onana also told Relevo: "I'm fine. If it's fair or not it doesn't matter any more. The most important thing is that the country always wins and I wish them a lot of luck."

Cameroon face Brazil in their last Group G game on Friday, sitting two points behind second-placed Switzerland and needing to win to stand any hope of reaching the next phase.

France, Brazil and Portugal are the only sides to have already secured World Cup knockout football, with numerous teams facing a nervy final matchday as they bid to reach the round of 16 in Qatar.

Pre-tournament favourites Brazil breezed through Group G with wins over Serbia and Switzerland, while France became the first reigning world champions to escape the group stage since the Selecao in 2006.

Portugal made sure of their round-of-16 spot after Monday's Group H victory over Uruguay, yet the likes of England, Spain, Germany and Argentina all need results on matchday three to progress.

The Netherlands are another big name that have yet to confirm their place in the latter stages of FIFA's top tournament, while Belgium face a tense Group F clash with Croatia to avoid an early exit.

Here, Stats Perform takes a look at the permutations riding on the final selection of group-stage action in the Middle East.

Group A

The Netherlands are largely in control of Group A, needing to just avoid defeat against the already eliminated hosts, Qatar.

Louis van Gaal's side will also reach the round of 16 if Ecuador beat Senegal, who have to win otherwise Aliou Cisse's side will rely on a somewhat unlikely win for Qatar over the Netherlands to remain in contention.

Ecuador, who have impressed in their first two games, must win or draw against Senegal to progress. However, Gustavo Alfaro's men could go through in defeat if Qatar beat the Netherlands.

Group B

A win or a draw is enough for England against fierce rivals Wales. Yet, the Three Lions would still progress as long as they avoid a four-goal defeat against Wales, whose goal difference is six fewer.

Iran are guaranteed to qualify with victory over the United States, who know anything other than a win against Carlos Queiroz's side will see them eliminated from the competition.

Quieroz's men could still escape Group B with a draw, though goal difference would come into play if Wales pick up their first win at the tournament against Gareth Southgate's England.

Group C

All four teams can still make it out of an enticing Group C, with Argentina – who were among the pre-tournament favourites – needing to beat Poland to guarantee a round-of-16 place.

La Albiceleste could progress with a draw, however, and would be through in that instance if Mexico and Saudi Arabia also share the spoils.

Yet, if Lionel Scaloni's men are held and Herve Renard's men beat El Tri, Argentina will be eliminated. If Mexico win and Argentina draw, it goes to goal difference.

Poland would go through by avoiding defeat, but would be knocked out by a loss coupled with a Saudi Arabia victory over Mexico, who must win to have any chance of remaining in the tournament.

If Poland lose and Saudi Arabia draw, the two teams will have to be separated by goal difference, which will also be used if Czeslaw Michniewicz's side are defeated and Mexico win.

Group D

France are already in the round-of-16 draw and will top Group D as long as they do not lose to Tunisia and Australia do not defeat Denmark, otherwise the Socceroos would move level on six points with Les Bleus.

While victory would take Australia through, Graham Arnold's side would still reach the knockout stage with a draw unless Tunisia beat France, which would see Jalel Kadri's men progress on goal difference.

Denmark would grab qualification with a win over Australia unless Tunisia triumph over France, which would leave goal difference or goals scored to separate the Carthage Eagles and Kasper Hjulmand's men.

Group E

Spain are the favourites to progress from Group E, requiring a win or draw against Japan. Defeat would see Luis Enrique's side still go through on goal difference, unless Germany lose to Costa Rica.

Germany must pick up three points to stay in contention and would qualify as long as Spain defeat Japan, though a draw in the latter game or a win for Hajime Moriyasu's men would see goal difference needed.

A win for Japan over Spain would take Moriyasu's side through, while a draw – coupled with a stalemate for Germany – would also see the Samurai Blue make the knockout stage.

Costa Rica would earn a last-16 spot with victory and a point would also take them through if Spain overcome Japan. A draw in both games or a defeat for Fernando Suarez's side sees them eliminated.

Group F

Croatia will pass through Group F if they avoid defeat against Belgium, who require victory against the 2018 runners-up to guarantee a place in the round of 16.

Such a win for Belgium would leave Croatia needing already eliminated Canada to overcome Morocco, with goal difference coming into play to separate Zlatko Dalic's side from the Atlas Lions.

A draw is likely not enough for Belgium. They would need Morocco to lose to Canada and then rely on goal difference, though Walid Regragui's men (+2) hold the advantage over Roberto Martinez's side (-1) in the decisive metric.

Morocco would progress with victory over Canada, while a defeat would see Regragui's side reliant on Belgium beating Croatia for goal difference to be decisive between Dalic's men and the Atlas Lions for second.

Group G

Brazil have secured knockout football and will finish as Group G winners with anything other than defeat against Cameroon, who need victory against Tite's side and results to go their way to make the last 16.

Rigobert Song's men would be eliminated if they do not win, though victory is not guaranteed to secure progression as Switzerland could play out a high-scoring draw with Serbia to go through on goals scored, which is used if sides cannot be separated on goal difference – Cameroon are currently on -1 and Switzerland level in the latter metric.

The somewhat expected scenario of Cameroon losing to Brazil would see Serbia and Switzerland become a winner-takes-all clash. 

Dragan Stojkovic's side need victory to progress in that instance, while a draw would be enough for Switzerland. Goal difference would be required if Serbia (-2) and Cameroon (-1) both win their final encounters.

Group H

Portugal are already through and would top Group H by avoiding defeat against South Korea, who could still make a late charge for the round-of-16 stage should the result between Uruguay and Ghana go their way.

The permutations are straightforward for Uruguay and South Korea, who must win to avoid elimination, though qualification is not assured even with victory.

Both teams would be level on four points with victories, again leading to goal difference to separate. Yet, if Ghana beat Uruguay then South Korea's result against Portugal will prove irrelevant for Paulo Bento's side.

A draw for Ghana and a win for South Korea would also see goal difference required to split the two sides, with Bento's men trailing the Black Stars by one in that metric, which could mean goals scored comes into it.

Andre Onana has been suspended by Cameroon due to disciplinary reasons after coach Rigobert Song left the goalkeeper out against Serbia.

Devis Epassy was preferred in goal for Monday's thrilling 3-3 World Cup draw, with reports suggesting Onana's omission came after a disagreement with Song over the 26-year-old's playing style against Switzerland.

Song explained after the match that he felt he needed to "take a strong action" and that "those that didn't want to be a part of that, well they can be judged."

The Cameroon Football Federation subsequently confirmed Inter goalkeeper Onana has been stepped down from his duties for an indefinite period.

"Following Rigobert Song's decision, Andre Onana has been temporarily suspended from the group for disciplinary reasons," a statement read.

"The Cameron Football Federation reiterates its full support to the head coach and his entire staff as they implement the Federation's policy aimed at preserving discipline, solidarity, complementarity and cohesion within the national team.

"FECAFOOT further reaffirms its commitment to create a peaceful atmosphere for the team and to provide them with adequate facilities for outstanding performance."

Against the Swiss, Onana had the most touches outside the box by a goalkeeper in a World Cup match (26) since 1966.

Epassy provided a more "traditional" approach that Song suggested he was looking for against Serbia, with the goalkeeper making two saves and attempting just 18 passes, though he could have done better for Sergej Milinkovic-Savic's strike in first-half stoppage time.

The fallout of the Onana furore overshadowed Cameroon salvaging an unlikely draw from 3-1 down, though it dented both teams' hopes of progressing from Group G.

Cameroon face Brazil in their last group game on Friday, sitting two points behind second-placed Switzerland.

Serbia boss Dragan Stojkovic felt his team should have "been smarter" in trying to see out their game against Cameroon.

Stojkovic's side were in the driving seat after coming back from 1-0 down to lead 3-1 with 26 minutes to play, only for the introduction of Vincent Boubakar to transform the game.

The Al Nassr striker reduced the deficit after 64 minutes, running on to Jean-Charles Castelletto's through ball before producing an impudent scoop over Serbia goalkeeper Vanja Milinkovic-Savic - the goal given after a VAR check.

He then turned provider two minutes later, escaping down the right before crossing for Eric Choupo-Moting to fire in and salvage a 3-3 Group G draw at Al Janoub Stadium.

Stojkovic rued what he felt were two defensive lapses that allowed Cameroon to claim a point.

He said: "We controlled the match and played the way we can but these two mistakes were decisive. This should not happen but due to the fatigue and a lack of concentration it's a draw. We should have finished the match in a smarter way."

Both sides have a point from their two games and will keep a close eye on Monday's other Group G clash between Brazil and Switzerland to understand what they need to do on matchday three.

"We have a chance," added Stojkovic, whose side meet Tite's men on Friday. "We seem to like the difficult road in order to achieve a goal.

"We have to be more concentrated, especially in defence. Such mistakes should not happen or repeated any more."

Cameroon boss Rigobert Song, who left goalkeeper Andre Onana out for disciplinary reasons, was delighted by his side's determination to hit back from what seemed a lost cause.

"That’s part of our DNA," he said. "It was missing in the first match [against Switzerland] but we tried to show it today.

"What was important for this match was to show that fighting spirit, that great determination and that’s what we saw in a very committed performance."

Aboubakar, named man of the match even though he only came on in the 55th minute, took inspiration from Morocco's 2-0 defeat of Belgium on Sunday.

He said: "We saw how Morocco played and we realised you have to play with great determination if you want to win games at this tournament.

"When I came on, I tried to enjoy it and tried to make the right runs on the last defender and they found it hard to follow me."

Boubakar is the Cameroon captain but made light of being omitted from the starting line-up for both games in Qatar so far.

"Being captain is not a big deal," he added. "When I play for Cameroon I try to do my best and to win the game. Whoever is captain it doesn’t really matter. You have to play for the team."

Rigobert Song confirmed goalkeeper Andre Onana was left out of the Cameroon squad for Monday’s 3-3 draw against Serbia for disciplinary reasons - and insisted it was a decision that "had to happen".

Song would not elaborate on the reasons behind Onana's omission - reports suggested it was due to a disagreement over the 26-year-old's playing style in the opening World Cup defeat to Switzerland - but was satisfied he had made the right decision for the wider squad.

Against the Swiss, Onana made the most touches outside the box by a goalkeeper in a World Cup match (26) since records began in 1966.
 

 

The row overshadowed Cameroon hitting back from 3-1 down to claim an unlikely Group G draw against Serbia at Al Janoub Stadium, a result that dents both sides' hopes of advancing to the knockout phase.

Song said: "The goalkeeper position is very important but we are in a tournament and I know what I have to do and that is to ensure the team takes precedence over any individuals.

"In a squad, you need discipline and if you can't fit in with that, then you need to accept responsibility for that. Perhaps sometimes you need to take strong action to help people come to the realisation that certain things need to be done.

"All the 26 players are in a position to play. I took a risk but I accept the responsibility. I am interested in the players that I have at my disposal. Andre has been left out, you need to respect the rules that apply to everyone. It was something that had to happen."

Onana was replaced by Devis Epassy, who could have done better with Serbia's second goal but otherwise proved an able deputy.

Song added: "Everyone that did play was capable and those that didn't want to be a part of that, well they can be judged. Epassy showed he is also a very competent goalkeeper.

"I will talk about this in due course, I want to focus now on the Brazil game. We want to deal with players that want to be in the squad and that are proud to represent Cameroon.

"We are talking about one of the best goalkeepers in Europe [in Onana]. We don't question his ability but you do need to ensure the team takes precedence over individuals.

"For the time being I have asked him to wait and see if he is willing to stay with us. It's up to him to a certain extent, he will have to agree to accept the rules."

Cameroon hit back from two goals down to secure a 3-3 draw with Serbia that preserves both sides' chances of advancing to the World Cup round of 16.

The Indomitable Lions, with regular goalkeeper Andre Onana reportedly on his way home after a falling out with coach Rigobert Song, scored first through Jean-Charles Castelletto only for Serbia to seize control through goals from Strahinja Pavlovic, Sergej Milinkovic-Savic and Aleksandar Mitrovic.

It seemed Dragan Stojkovic's men were cruising but they were stung by two goals in three second-half minutes, substitute Vincent Aboubakar's clever finish reducing the arrears before Eric Choupo-Moting brought Cameroon level.

Serbia bossed the bulk of the first half but had to wait until just before half-time to make their superiority count in the Group G clash at Al Janoub Stadium on Monday.

Mitrovic fired a left-footed strike against the post in the sixth minute following a neat one-two with Dusan Tadic and, six minutes later, came close again by shooting wide from close range after the ball bobbled around the Cameroon box.

Serbia were made to pay for his profligacy when Cameroon took the lead approaching the half-hour mark.

Pierre Kunde whipped in a corner from the left that was flicked on by Nicolas Nkoulou and Castelletto tapped in at the far post.

Cameroon could have doubled their advantage after 43 minutes but Kunde fired straight at goalkeeper Vanja Milinkovic-Savic when clean through before slicing the rebound horribly wide.

It was to prove a critical moment as Serbia turned the game around before the break.

First, Pavlovic headed in Tadic’s floated free-kick before Sergej Milinkovic-Savic drove home from the edge of the box, although Onana's deputy Devis Epassy should have done better.

Mitrovic got the goal his all-round display deserved eight minutes into the second half.

Lovely interplay from Filip Kostic and Sergej Milinkovic-Savic enabled Andrija Zivkovic to find space on the right side of the area and his cut-back was perfect for Mitrovic to tap into an empty net.

Cameroon appeared to be beaten but the 55th-minute introduction of Aboubakar turned the game on its head.

The Al Nassr striker made it 3-2 after 64 minutes, running on to Castelletto's through ball before producing an impudent scoop over Serbia goalkeeper Vanja Milinkovic-Savic - the goal given after a VAR check.

He then turned provider two minutes later, escaping down the right before crossing for Choupo-Moting to fire in.

Mitrovic could have clinched it but shot straight at Epassy.

Sporting director Stevan Stojanovic was frustrated by Serbia's lack of belief in their defeat to Brazil, but has backed them to bounce back against Cameroon.

Two second-half goals from Richarlison saw Brazil run out 2-0 winners in their World Cup Group G opener on Thursday with Serbia producing an uncharacteristically passive performance.

They have the chance to kick-start their campaign when they meet a Cameroon side smarting from a 1-0 defeat to Switzerland, and Stojanovic is demanding a more assertive display.

He told the Informer newspaper: "We analysed the game against Brazil and I think we respected them too much. It's okay to respect Brazil, you should, but it's not good to underestimate yourself.

"It seems to me that we surrendered at half-time. It was as if the players in the dressing room thought that they could do nothing against such a strong Brazil, so they immediately counted on having two more games in which we should look to qualify."

 

Cameroon will pose a different type of threat although Stojanovic was not overly impressed after watching their game against the Swiss, adding: "African teams are unpredictable, including Cameroon. They have a couple of fast players, they need to be paid attention to.

"Cameroon threatened in the first half, had two or three chances, but it was as if they did not know how to take those opportunities. I wouldn't say they were selfish, but rash. They have some wild cards and you can see that no match here at the World Cup is easy, but we know our quality."

If Serbia were disappointing in their opening display, the same can be said of Cameroon who were sunk by Breel Embolo's close-range goal.

The Indomitable Lions were hit by more bad news on Friday after it emerged midfielder Olivier Ntcham, who missed the Switzerland game, will also sit out their remaining two group games through injury.

Coach Rigobert Song was heavily criticised in the aftermath of Thursday's encounter but is remaining optimistic.

"There is no question, everything is still possible and we have not given up hope," he said. "But we know we are no longer able to make mistakes.

"We will play an all-out game without hesitation. I think the game against Serbia will be different."


PLAYERS TO WATCH

Serbia - Dusan Vlahovic

Reduced to a substitute's role against Brazil with coach Dragan Stojkovic adopting a more cautious approach, Juventus forward Vlahovic is likely to start against Cameroon with Serbia needing to win.

Vlahovic has been a rare bright spark for Juve this season, scoring six goals in 10 Serie A appearances, and will form a physical strikeforce with Aleksandar Mitrovic.

Cameroon - Bryan Mbeumo

Cameroon will be hoping for more from Bryan Mbeumo. The Brentford attacker was a peripheral figure against Switzerland, contributing just one shot on target and three touches inside the opposition box.

This would be the ideal moment for Mbeumo to score his first international goal, as Cameroon are averaging just 0.8 goals per game at the World Cup (18 goals in 24 games), the lowest ratio of any nation to play at least 20 games in the tournament. 


PREDICTION

Serbia possess the greater attacking threat with the likes of Mitrovic, Vlahovic and Dusan Tadic, so they are fancied to win this one and get their qualification hopes back on track.

Stats Perform's AI model gives them a 56.3 per cent chance of emerging victorious with Cameroon's hopes rated at just 19.5 per cent. A draw comes in at 24.2 per cent, although that result would not really help either side.

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