World Cup 2022 - Cameroon 1-0 Brazil: Vincent Aboubakar's late winner not enough to earn last 16 place
Match report as Cameroon beat Brazil 1-0 thanks to late Vincent Aboubakar header; result not enough for Rigobert Song's side to make last 16, while Brazil hold onto top spot in Group G and face South Korea in next round; Switzerland finish second after beating Serbia and will play Portugal
Vincent Aboubakar's stoppage-time header earned Cameroon a memorable late win over five-time world champions Brazil, but it wasn't enough for the African side to claim a place in the last 16 of the World Cup.
Cameroon went into the game knowing they needed to beat Brazil to keep alive their hopes of qualifying for the knockouts and they upheld their end of the bargain thanks to their captain Aboubakar, who was sent off for his celebrations in the wake of his late winner.
However, Switzerland's win over Serbia meant Cameroon were unable to make up enough ground in Group G to make the next round, regardless of their result over Brazil.
The South Americans held onto top spot in the group thanks to a superior goal difference over Switzerland, meaning they will face South Korea for a place in the quarter-finals on Monday evening.
Cameroon's hopes of pulling off an upset were surely raised when they saw Brazil's starting XI, as manager Tite made nine changes with qualification from Group G already secured.
However, the presence of the likes of Ederson, Fabinho and Gabriel Martinelli meant it was still a Brazil side packed with quality and they dominated proceedings at the Lusail Iconic Stadium.
But, whether it was down to the changes to their line-up affecting their fluency or a sense of complacency creeping in with a place in the knockouts already wrapped up, the Selecao wasted chances throughout the game.
Arsenal's Martinelli saw several efforts well saved by goalkeeper Devis Epassy, while Eder Militao, Bremer and Bruno Guimaraes all saw close-range efforts blocked by desperate Cameroon defending.
Brazil ended the game with 21 shots and an expected-goals total of 2.25 but couldn't break down Cameroon, who came close themselves in first-half injury-time when Bryan Mbeumo's header was clawed away by Ederson.
Pedro missed a glorious late chance to put Brazil ahead and Rigobert Song's side eventually punished their opponents for their profligacy through Aboubakar, with the captain - recalled to the side after his goal and assist salvaged a point in their previous game against Serbia - nodding in a late winner before earning a second yellow card for removing his shirt in the raucous celebrations.
There was still time for Guimaraes to miss two more excellent chances to salvage a point for Brazil, who were fortunate that Switzerland were unable to add to their lead over Serbia and beat them to first place in the group.
Cameroon's win was not enough for them to progress to the last 16, with the African side ending their World Cup campaign in third place in Group G on four points.
Brazil held onto top spot thanks to having a better goal difference than Switzerland, with both sides ending the group stage on six points. Serbia, who fell to a 3-2 defeat to the Swiss, finished bottom with just one point.
Brazil will play South Korea in the last 16 on Monday - kick-off 7pm - while Switzerland will play Portugal on Tuesday, with that tie also kicking off at 7pm.
Devis Epassy was unexpectedly thrust into the limelight after first-choice goalkeeper Andre Onana left Cameroon's World Cup camp after just one game following a falling out with Song.
The 29-year-old, who plays for Saudi Pro League side Abha Club, shipped three goals against Serbia in a nervy performance and he didn't look entirely comfortable against Brazil.
But, despite spilling a Militao effort towards his own goal and flapping at a Guimaraes corner, Epassy also played a starring role in his country's impressive victory.
The 'keeper made seven saves on his way to keeping a clean sheet and faced an expected-goals-on-target figure of 1.31. The fact Epassy kept Brazil at bay justified the faith shown in him by his manager.
Brazil will not remember their final game group game fondly. They were fortunate the late 1-0 defeat to Cameroon did not cost them top spot in Group G. But for Martinelli it might prove a springboard.
The Arsenal forward, whose call-up for the tournament surprised some in Brazil, was handed his first start for the national side as Tite made wholesale changes, emerging from the encounter as one of few players to have enhanced his credentials.
As part of a front four with his Arsenal team-mate Gabriel Jesus, Manchester United's Antony and Real Madrid's Rodrygo, he was by far the most dangerous player, his speed and directness from the left flank unsettling Cameroon throughout.
On another day he would have had a goal to reward his efforts but Epassy thwarted him on three separate occasions, first tipping an early header over the bar, then saving two powerful efforts from further out.
There were three successful dribbles, more than anyone else on the pitch, and glimpses of creativity as well as goal threat. At one point, Martinelli teed up substitute Guimaraes for an opportunity from which he should have done better.
It was his speed, though, that most stood out. In an often turgid game, he was a catalyst. At one point in the second half, Cameroon's only option was to haul him down as he threatened to race through on goal, goalscorer Aboubakar taking a yellow card which would later see him sent off in the closing stages.
It was telling, too, that while Jesus, Antony and Rodrygo were all withdrawn in the second half, Martinelli was kept on for the duration. His playing time at this World Cup amounted to only three minutes before this game. On the evidence of his performance here, and with Neymar's fitness still uncertain, we can expect him to feature more prominently in the knockout stages.Premier League watch: Mbeumo and Martinelli impress | Guimaraes wasteful
Brentford's Bryan Mbeumo was one of Cameroon's standout performers and was unlucky not to open the scoring when his downward header was pushed away by Manchester City's Ederson, who produced a solid display in goal for Brazil.
Manchester United duo Fred and Antony were handed starts, with the former producing an average performance in midfield and the latter showing some nice touches without troubling Cameroon's defence too seriously.
Liverpool's Fabinho outshone Fred in the Brazil midfield, while Martinelli was his country's best player on a disappointing night.
However, Jesus failed to trouble Epassy in the Cameroon goal, while Newcastle's Guimaraes missed a hatful of chances after coming off the bench.
As well as Switzerland securing a last-16 spot with victory over Serbia, , who still claimed top spot in Group H.
The 2-1 victory - earned by Wolves forward Hwang Hee-Chan's stoppage-time winner - moved South Korea into second place and set up a clash with Brazil.
Uruguay beat Ghana 2-0 in a rematch of their infamous meeting at the 2010 World Cup in the other Group H game, but the South Americans exited the competition on goals scored having scored two fewer than South Korea.