Germany and Cameroon warmed up for the FIFA World Cup with a thrilling 2-2 draw Sunday evening in an international friendly in Monchengladbach, Germany.
All four goals came in the second half following a scoreless opening period that featured numerous chances for both sides. Samuel Eto'o gave Cameroon the lead in the 62nd minute, before Germany turned the game with two goals in five minutes via Thomas Muller and substitute Andre Schurrle.
With Germany seemingly headed for victory, Cameroon equalised in the 78th minute through Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting.
Though Sunday's result has no effect on the World Cup, which begins June 12 in Brazil, it will cause concern for Germany coach Joachim Low, especially in defence. Having yet to name his final 23-man roster—the squad is currently down to 26—Low will have plenty to consider before his highly fancied team travels to South America.
As B/R's Cristian Nyari noted, Sunday's friendly was "typical" for Germany.
FT Germany 2-2 Cameroon: Typical Germany friendly, rarely at their best, still many questions over squad selection. Fitness still worrying.— Cristian Nyari (@Cnyari) June 1, 2014
Placed in Group G with Portugal, Ghana and the United States, Germany are generally considered one of the favourites for glory in Brazil. Low's side will open its campaign June 16 against Portugal, but first is a final warm-up friendly against Armenia on June 6 in Mainz.
Cameroon, meanwhile, were drawn into Group A with hosts Brazil, as well as Croatia and Mexico. The Indomitable Lions will play one more pre-World Cup friendly, against Moldova on June 7, before their opener against Mexico on June 13.
As The Associated Press' Ciaran Fahey tweeted, Cameroon will be difficult to beat in Brazil:
Impressed with what I've seen from Cameroon. Their game against Croatia should be a cracker.— Ciarán Fahey (@cfaheyAP) June 1, 2014
Germany started brightly and came close to scoring twice in the opening minutes. First, Mesut Ozil fired wide of the post in the opening minute. Three minutes later, Per Mertesacker skimmed a header off the top of the crossbar.
Mario Gotze, playing a false-nine role, had the next big chance for Germany, forcing Cameroon goalkeeper Charles Itandje to push his shot onto the upright in the 11th minute. At the other end, Roman Weidenfeller saved a low shot from Eto'o seven minutes later.
The Germans created another good chance in the 36th minute, as Marco Reus played a dangerous cross into the box from the left. Sami Khedira rose to meet the ball, but his glancing header bounced wide of the far post.
As half-time approached, however, Cameroon took the initiative. In the 38th minute, Weidenfeller made a spectacular save to keep Cameroon out, denying Benjamin Moukandjo from close range following a clever through ball by Eto'o. Then, an unmarked Joel Matip headed at Weidenfeller four minutes before the break.
The first chance of the second half fell to Germany in the 49th minute, Reus lifting his shot wide from a tight angle after collecting Muller's cut-back inside the box. But 13 minutes later, Cameroon took the lead.
Eto'o forced a save from Weidenfeller with his initial shot from the middle, but the ball remained in play as Cameroon continued to attack. The ball came back into the middle for Eto'o, who redirected it past Weidenfeller for the game's opening goal.
The lead lasted only four minutes, though, as Germany equalised in the 66th minute. Jerome Boateng won possession on the right and crossed to Muller, who tucked his header just inside the near post to make it 1-1.
Five minutes later, Germany went ahead when two substitutes combined for a goal on the counter. Lukas Podolski, who had replaced Ozil in the 63rd minute, found space on the left and crossed to Schurrle, a 58th-minute replacement for Gotze. With his first touch, Schurrle slotted into the net for a 2-1 German lead.
The hosts appeared set for victory on home soil, but Cameroon equalised in the 78th minute, thanks in part to some poor defending. After accepting a pass from Eyong Enoh on the left, Choupo-Moting had plenty of time and space to pick out his shot, beating Weidenfeller at the far post to peg back Germany at 2-2.
Germany nearly retook the lead just two minutes later when Mats Hummels picked out Muller with a fine pass over the top of Cameroon's defence. Muller was unable to keep his lobbed shot on target, though, lifting the ball over the bar as Itandje rushed off his line.
|Andre Schurrle (for Gotze, 58')||N/A||7.0|
|Lukas Podolski (for Ozil, 63')||N/A||7.0|
|Christoph Kramer (for Khedira, 73')||N/A||6.0|
|Benedikt Howedes (for Durm, 85')||N/A||6.2|
Ratings via WhoScored.com
|Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting||6.9||8.1|
|Landry N'Guemo (for Mbia, 46')||N/A||6.1|
|Benoit Assou-Ekotto (for Bedimo, 58')||N/A||6.4|
|Nyom (for Djeugoue, 83')||N/A||6.0|
|Pierre Webo (for Eto'o, 90')||N/A||No rating|
Ratings via WhoScored.com
Per #Mertesacker not delighted, on ARD: "As soon as we start giving possession away cheaply, we'll face problems from any team in world."— DW - Sports (@dw_sports) June 1, 2014
Löw: "It was clear that we were still lacking sharpness. Our passing wasn't good and we made many mistakes."— Cristian Nyari (@Cnyari) June 1, 2014