Cameroon’s German coach Winfried Schafer said Wednesday that he believes the African champions can beat Saudi Arabia and Germany to reach the knockout round at the World Cup finals.
« I think we can win both games, tomorrow and against Germany. My players are not so tired as they were in the first match and the first days in Asia and Japan. I’m very optimistic that we will win, » said Schafer.
Cameroon arrived here on May 23 after a bizarre four-day delay amid reports of a dispute over bonus payments and the absence of flyover permits over Southest Asia. On Saturday, the jet-lagged Cameroon players slowed down in the second half to be held to a 1-1 draw by Ireland in their opener of the Group E first round.
Saudi Arabia managed only three shots at goal in the lopsided match against Germany to suffer a humiliating 8-0 defeat.
Schafer, however, said it does not matter how many goals his side can score against Saudi Arabia Thursday at the Saitama Stadium.
« That’s not important for us. We must get three points for a win, and if possible, we must get a lot of goals. But first of all, we must win this match and it would be very, very difficult, » said the German.
« Because the Saudis also should be better than when they played Germany. We know every game is very difficult.
« We must be 100 percent, be very concentrated. But all our players are fit, we are better than when we were after 40 hours of journey to Asia and we have more power than in our first match against Ireland.
« I saw it during the training sessions, » said Schafer.
Former J-League striker Patrick Mboma, who scored against Ireland, said his side has a physical advantage against the Saudis.
« We must play like the Germans and physically put pressure on Saudi Arabia, » said Mboma, who was replaced in the second half, allowing Ireland to equalize. « If we play physically well, we won’t have a problem, because Cameroon are such a team who have the advantages in physical strength as well as in technique. If we play physically strong, we can beat Saudi Arabia. »
« The Saudis are not that bad, » said forward Patrick Suffo. « They can be a dangerous team. Germany played directly aiming for the goal, and Saudi Arabia were not strong enough on the offensive side. « From now, everything is possible, and we see chances to finish top in the group if we play the right way on the pitch, » Suffo added.