World Cup 2022: Choupo-Moting says Cameroon need teamwork to qualify from group

Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting of Cameroon in training, watched by coach Rigobert Song
Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting (left) is not assured of a place in Cameroon’s starting XI by coach Rigobert Song (right)
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Forward Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting says teamwork will be more important than his own form if Cameroon are to qualify for the knockout stages of the World Cup in Qatar.

The 33-year-old comes into the tournament with 10 goals in his past nine games for club side Bayern Munich, and he netted in Cameroon’s final warm-up match.

The Indomitable Lions face a tricky draw in Group G alongside five-time winners Brazil, Serbia and Switzerland, who they play in their first game on Thursday (10:00 GMT).

“Expectations are high. Of course, that’s normal,” Choupo-Moting told BBC Sport Africa.

“To have success, we have to do it all together. And I believe in us because we have good quality, so we have to put it all together on the pitch.

“Me personally, I will give my best as I do always. I know it can help the team a lot.

“I know I have a lot of qualities and with my team-mates around, everyone can perform well.”

Despite his fine form, Choupo-Moting is not assured of a place in Cameroon’s starting line-up.

He spent most of the Africa Cup of Nations earlier this year on the bench – as Indomitable Lions captain Vincent Aboubakar was preferred and won the Golden Boot with eight goals – and Choupo-Moting came on at half-time in the Central African’s friendly against Panama last week, which ended in a 1-1 draw.

Cameroon are making their eighth appearance at the World Cup finals, but have only qualified for the knockout stages once, when they became the first African side to reach the quarter-finals in 1990.

Despite that record and their tough draw, Choupo-Moting has faith in the quality of coach Rigobert Song’s squad.

“Of course we want to qualify for the next round. That’s definitely our goal,” the former Stoke City and Paris St-Germain forward added.

“We have a tough group – good teams, good opponents. But we have also a lot of quality and we believe in ourselves.

“We will give our best to bring all of this on the pitch. And if we do it all together, I’m very positive that we will have good results.”

First group opponents Switzerland lost their final warm-up match against Ghana 2-0, but Choupo-Moting is wary of their quality.

“It’s always important to start a tournament positively and we want to win this match at all costs,” he said.

“But it will be difficult, we are aware of that. The Swiss have a good team. They have had very good results recently in the Nations League.

“They have individual talent as well, but we look at ourselves and we have a lot of quality too.”

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