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Cameroon, Croatia aim to rebound in Group A

Jul 10, 2014 - 1:10 AM Manaus, Brazil ( - Croatia and Cameroon will both be fighting to stay alive in Group A on Wednesday when the two sides meet up at the Arena Amazonia.

Both teams lost their opening match of the tournament with Croatia falling 3-1 to Brazil in the curtain-raising contest, while Cameroon dropped a 1-0 decision to Mexico the following day.

Those results mean that the loser of Wednesday's contest will be eliminated after just two games, while the winner would put itself back in contention for a place in the next round.

A draw would keep both sides alive, but would leave them with a lot of work to do in their final match.

Croatia was expected to challenge for a spot in the last 16 and certainly turned in an encouraging performance against tournament-favorites Brazil.

Niko Kovac saw his side take a surprising 1-0 lead in the 11th minute on an own goal from Brazil defender Marcelo before the hosts rebounded to level the match at 1-1 midway through the opening half through Neymar.

The game was there for the taking as it entered the final 20 minutes, but a questionable penalty call handed Brazil the chance to take the lead when Fred went down under minimal contact from Croatia defender Dejan Lovren.

Neymar converted the subsequent spot kick to put the Brazilians in front, and Oscar added a third in injury time to account for a flattering final score.

Although Croatia came away from the game with zero points, Kovac didn't seem to be the least bit disappointed by the result.

"We left an excellent impression, hats off to the lads," Kovac said after the match. "It's an honor to coach them."

Cameroon will also be looking to bounce back after falling to El Tri on a second-half goal from Oribe Peralta.

The Indomitable Lions were a bit fortunate to only lose 1-0 as Mexico's Giovani Dos Santos had two goals called off in the first half, illustrating a need for Cameroon to elevate its level of play on Wednesday, especially since it will face Brazil in its final group match.

A win for Croatia would likely set up a game with Mexico that would decide second place in the group, but first Kovac and his men must take care of business against Cameroon, which could benefit from the humid conditions in Manaus.