Cameroon captain Samuel Eto’o will miss Wednesday’s match against Croatia and may play no further part in the World Cup because of his ongoing knee injury, both he and team officials said on Monday.
The four-time African Footballer of the Year tweeted he was out of the next Group A match against Croatia. “Eto’o has been told by the doctors he cannot play for the next 10 days,” said the team’s media spokesman Laurence Fotso, adding an extra prognosis.
Croatia’s problems are somewhat different as it licks its wounds and tries to digest the bitter pill of the 3-1 loss to Brazil last Thursday. Two key incidents changed the game as Brazil was awarded a highly contentious penalty to go 2-1 ahead before the Europeans controversially had a goal disallowed that would have levelled the scores.
But worse was to follow at the weekend as players were upset by some overly revealing coverage of their Brazilian campaign.
A Croatian website published photos of naked players frolicking in a swimming pool at their team base in Praia do Forte.
Veteran striker Ivica Olic, 34, accused the country’s media of sabotaging their preparations.
The publication had caused outrage amongst the players who decided to boycott the media until Olic opted to speak to Sportske Novosti.
The photos, originally published online, were reprinted by many Monday newspapers and were especially well received by women on social networks. But they haven’t helped the mood of players who were already aggrieved by what their coach Nico Kovac described as the “ridiculous” penalty award in their opening match.
Kovac said the tournament would turn into a “circus” if referees continue to make such decisions. So the referee will likely come under stern scrutiny, particularly since the gaffes have continued from the men in the middle.
Cameroon actually benefitted from two seemingly valid Mexico goals being chalked off for what appeared non-existent offsides. Whatever the outcome, both sides will be hoping that headlines are made for the right reasons.