Cameroun’s Lionesses made history on Tuesday night as they became the second African team ever to reach the round of 16 of the FIFA Women’s World Cup following a 2-1 win over Switzerland in Edmonton, Canada.
The African ladies finished second in their group behind Japan with six points, and joined Nigeria (quarter-finals in 1999) as the only teams from their continent to reach the knockout stages.
It was also Cameoun’s first win over a European opponent at a FIFA Women’s World Cup.
The result secured set up a last-16 meeting with China PR.
Both teams pushed forward at every opportunity, allowing for an entertaining contest, with Cameroon dominating the second half after equalising soon after the break.
Early on Swiss captain Martina Moser floated a free-kick over the backline to Ana Maria Crnogorcevic, who narrowly failed to make contact with the goalkeeper exposed.
Cameroun skipper Christine Manie powered in a header directly from a corner, which was perhaps as close as the Africans came to scoring in the first half.
Cameroun then failed to deal with a forward ball, allowing Ramona Bachmann through on goal, but goalkeeper Anette Ngo Ndom just got enough on the block to see it go wide. But Switzerland were not to be denied, and Bachmann burst into the penalty area before pulling the ball back for Crnogorcevic to comfortably slot home from near the penalty spot.
Despite the goal it was Cameroun, backed by a healthy and noisy contingent, who enjoyed a strong passage of play with several half-sights of goal. Cameroon’s Gaelle Enganamouit was, as always, dangerous with her strong running. However, Switzerland could have doubled their advantage with Fabienne Humm’s header blocked by a second excellent save from Ngo Ndon.
Cameroun made a dream restart with Gabrielle Onguene striking two minutes after the interval, with a sweet finish from 18 yards following a pullback from the byline. The goal saw Cameroon find their confidence and they took the lead just past the hour mark, as Madeleine Ngono Mani powered in a close-range header just five minutes after coming on following a dynamic run and cross from Onguene.
The dynamic Onguene could have repeated her feat with yet another amazing run down the right, but Francine Zouga saw her shot blocked on the line by Vanessa Bernauer.