International Friendly: Slovakia V Cameroon Betting – Saturday, 29th May

27th May 2010 | World Cup Betting category: World Cup Qualification Previews & Predictions
World Cup Qualification Previews & Predictions

 

Slovakia V Cameroon

Saturday, 29th May – 13:00 GMT
International Friendly
LIVE coverage can be found by logging into your Bet365 or Betfair account.

 

Slovakia

Slovakia will be looking to build upon an impressive qualifying campaign – winning 7 of 10 qualifiers en route to automatic qualification from Group 3 in the European sector – when they take on Cameroon in a potentially decisive encounter despite the fact is merely just a friendly. With Slovakia situated in Group F alongside reigning World champs Italy, the South American dark horses Paraguay and one of the surprise participants in New Zealand, should the Slovaks seal a top two finish in the group their last-sixteen opponent could very well be the Indomitable Lions, so while it may be just a friendly on paper, it should be an eye-opener for Slovakia coach Vladimir Weiss.

The central European team surprised many when topping a table containing Slovenia, Poland and favourites Czech Republic, but then their achievement should heed as a warning to those doubting Slovakia before a ball has even been played in next months finals, which are now two weeks away from commencing in Johannesburg. The Slovaks, under some wise guidance from their manager Weiss, performed minor miracles in a Group few would have fancied their chances in despite it’s competitive feel. Back-to-back victories over the Polish went hand-in-hand with their scalp of Czech Republic in Prague in aiding Slovakia towards a South Africa berth, and considering the Czech’s recently put a World Cup participant well and truly to the sword a few days ago when blasting four past the United States in a 4-2 win, those three points in the Czech Republic should stand them in good stead, while it should serve as a reminder to the players that they are capable of springing a surprise and pulling a gigantic performance out of the hat.

Unlike a large number of nations in Europe which topped their respective groups by maintaining solidity at the back, Slovakia were reliant upon some nervy and tight wins, with four of their seven victories in qualifying all coming by a narrow one goal margin. However, when it really mattered, in those games when Slovakia knew they had to bolster their goal difference against the smaller nations in order to enhance their goal difference, they did so with aplomb, firing ten past minnows San Marino in two games. Were it not for those ten goals against the side which finished bottom of the group and pointless, Slovakia’s goal difference would have read 12-10, and it’s worth pointing out that while the Slovaks may be stereotyped for being solid and unattractive in what they do, they were one more adventurous teams in Europe finishing sixth highest with goals scored but also ending the campaign with one of the worst defensive records out of all the teams that eventually qualified, including those who qualified via the play-off’s.

The key player, the man everyone should keep one eye on ahead of the finals, is Napoli’s talented and well renowned play-maker, Marek Hamsik, who scored twice in eight qualifiers and will captain his country in South Africa at just 22 years-of-age. Hamsik, however, is a player with huge amounts of potential, some of which has already shone through, with his leadership skills an obvious improvement considering he captained Slovakia to their first finals since reforming from Czechoslovakia. His best qualities are his play-making skills, his ability to manufacture chances for his forwards and create a shooting opportunity or two for himself. He’s a player which will have any world-class defence on their toes throughout. However, it was Stanislav Sestak who scored the most team goals with six from six games.

 

Cameroon

Cameroon are bidding to become the first ever African nation to lift the FIFA World Cup aloft and will feel they have the perfect man in charge to inspire them to such a feat. However, with quality additions a prominent problem within their camp, despite boasting some great names like Samuel Eto, Alex Song and Geremi, the Lions may not be the roaring success the supporters back home are praying for.

Whereas Saturday’s friendly will be Slovakia’s first international to coincide with their South Africa preparations, Cameroon are already into the swing of things after taking on Georgia on Tuesday 25th May. However, while their objective will have been to build up some pre-World Cup momentum ahead of taking on the Japanese on June 14th in their first World Cup encounter, coach Paul Le Guen instead left Linz, in Austria, with more puzzling questions then he perhaps anticipated after a lacklustre display from his players against a side which struggled badly throughout qualifying for the World Cup.

Tuesday’s 0-0 draw with Georgia, a nation ranked 119th in the FIFA Rankings, will have cast doubts over their World Cup credentials. It wasn’t a performance which oozed Cameroonian confidence nor will it have struck fear into the eyes of Slovakia. Instead, it might well leave their Group E opponents optimistic about their chances of taking points off of Cameroon in South Africa. So, with that in mind, it’s important Le Guen instils some self-belief into his players fast as a big display, preferably assisted with a cosy win, is the call from a team which hasn’t yet got into the party spirit in regards to their football on the field. We have little doubt that their travelling supporters will make it a carnival of noise off the pitch in South Africa.

The key player is an obvious one, Samuel Eto, and it’s not simply because of his prolific scoring record at both international and club level. Against the Georgians, Cameroon lacked any sort of spark in the final third, with a lack of movement off the ball a big worry for a concerned Le Guen. There wasn’t really a forward outlet, a player they could supply for him to then sprint forward and force out a chance. In Eto, who missed Cameroon’s opening friendly on Tuesday through winning the UEFA Champions League three days earlier, they have a player with a tonne of self-belief, an individual with absolutely no fear when it comes to charging at defenders with pace and authority, whilst Eto has always been a formidable presence in the oppositions penalty area. Moreover, because he’s the Cameroon captain, perhaps Eto’s emergence into the fold will inspire the rest of the team to up their performance levels.

 

Match Odds:

Slovakia – 2.88 VCbet
Draw – 3.30 Bet365
Cameroon – 2.40 bWin

 

Our Prediction: Cameroon to WIN – 2.40 bWin

It’s a difficult game to properly assess, with this being Slovakia’s first pre-World Cup friendly and Cameroon’s first being a drab 0-0 affair with lowly Georgia. With Samuel Eto’s expected return, you would like to think the Indomitable Lions will come on for their first outing, although there’s surely no chance they can play any worse, any more one paced and predictable, than they did on Tuesday evening. By the same token, any rustiness should now be out of their system.

From a Slovakia perspective, no-one really knows what to expect from them on Saturday and whether they can make haste of the fact Cameroon will be their first match-up since March 3rd when they lost 1-0 to Norway. Coach Weiss will have give 17 players the chance to show their worth and that itself should bring about some added motivation, but there is a small concern over the overall fitness levels of the players as well as a lack of match sharpness.

For now, we will have to avoid Slovakia and hope Cameroon come on for their poor 0-0 draw with Georgia a few days ago, with Eto especially active influential we hope.

Our Recommendation: Cameroon to Score First – 1.95 Bet365



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