Cameroon 1-0 Brazil: Lions bow out despite last-gasp Aboubakar strike
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.
Gabriel Martinelli went close to giving Brazil an early lead when his looping header drew a strong save from Epassy, though that was the closest Tite's men came during a flat first half.
Brazil were indebted to Ederson for keeping the game level when he made a fine reflex save from Bryan Mbeumo's header, while Aboubakar dragged an effort wide as Cameroon grew into the contest after the break.
Those two Cameroon forays seemed to spark Brazil into life, but Epassy somehow denied Eder Militao the opener when he tipped the defender's scruffy effort onto his right-hand post.
Antony drew another save from Epassy as Brazil continued to press, but the Selecao were caught out at the other end two minutes into stoppage time, as Aboubakar guided Jerome Ngom Mbekeli's cross into the bottom-right corner.
Aboubakar was shown a second yellow card for his joyous celebration but the goal was not enough to take Cameroon into the last 16 as Switzerland joined Brazil in progressing.
What does it mean? Unconvincing Selecao secure top spot
Brazil had the opportunity to become the only team to win all three of their group games at a World Cup characterised by upsets and despite Tite making wholesale changes, few predicted anything other than a routine outing for a side unbeaten in their last 17 World Cup group games.
Despite amassing 21 shots and 2.25 expected goals (xG), Brazil were hit with a sucker punch at the last, and their next opponents South Korea will likely have been watching on with interest.
Cameroon, meanwhile, have fallen at the first hurdle on six consecutive World Cup appearances but they will emerge with plenty of credit after demonstrating the way to beat the favourites.
Aboubakar replicates Zidane
Had another outcome occurred in Serbia's thriller against Switzerland, Aboubakar's dramatic winner may have represented a truly historic moment for Cameroon.
As it is, the Al Nassr striker will have to be content with following in the footsteps of the legendary Zinedine Zidane, who was the last player to score and receive a red card in the same World Cup match, in France's 2006 final defeat to Italy.
Worrying signs for Brazil?
Brazil did not face a single shot on target in their victories against Serbia and Switzerland, becoming the first team to achieve that feat through their first two games at a World Cup since France in 1998.
However, Tite's side were caught short by Aboubakar late on and will hope the striker's well-taken header does not provide an example for other sides to follow in the knockout stages.
Key Opta Facts
Brazil have finished top of their first-round group for the 16th time at the World Cup, four more times than any other side (Germany, 12). They have topped their first round group at 11 consecutive tournaments since 1982.
Despite victory in this match, Cameroon have been eliminated from the group stage in their last six appearances at the World Cup — they last reached the knockout stages in 1990.
Cameroon are the first African team to beat Brazil at the World Cup — African teams had lost all seven previous matches against Brazil, conceding 20 goals.
Brazil failed to score in this match despite attempting 21 shots — it is the first time they have had 20 or more shots without scoring at the World Cup since 1994 versus Italy.
As Group G winners, Brazil will face Group H runners-up South Korea for a place in the quarter-finals on Monday. Cameroon, meanwhile, are heading home despite their late heroics.