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Great nights in Cameroonian football

11:29 GMT+4 30/12/2019
Cameroon celebrate 2019
Goal, in association with Guinness, reviews some of the greatest nights in the history of Cameroonian football

No African country has qualified for the World Cup more than Cameroon, who have represented the continent at the grandest stage of all on no less than seven occasions.

They’re five-time Africa Cup of Nations winners, and clinched the Olympic gold medal in 2000.

It’s a legacy that the vast majority of African teams can only dream of, but which have been the truly great nights in the history of the Cameroonian game?

Here, Goal, in association with Guinness, pick out our top five.

  • Cameroon players celebrate 1990

    The ultimate giant killing

    Italia ’90 opened with a bang as Cameroon defeated holders Argentina in one of the biggest giant killings in the tournament’s history.

    Argentina still boasted Diego Maradona and were expected to thump Cameroon, who had never before won a World Cup match.

    However, the Albiceleste fell to a shock defeat, as Francois Omam-Biyik towered above his man in the 67th minute to head the only goal of the game.

    He wouldn’t have expected his weak and central effort to go in, but goalkeeper Nery Pumpido somehow let the ball squirm through and under him as the Africans triumphed, despite finishing the game with nine men following a brutal display.

  • Roger Milla Rene Higuita 1990 World Cup

    World Cup quarter-finalists

    Victory over Argentina remains perhaps Cameroon’s greatest ever triumph, but it wasn’t the high watermark of that 1990 tournament for the Indomitable Lions.

    They subsequently defeated Romania and advanced to the Last 16, despite being defeated 4-0 by the Soviet Union.

    Against Colombia in the Knockout Round, Cameroon delivered a fine display - capitalising on a critical error by Rene Higuita - to defeat the South Americans 2-1 in extra time, with Roger Milla, the tournament’s oldest scorer, netting twice.

    Milla would strike again in a dramatic quarter-final as Cameroon were eliminated by England, although, to date, no African side has ever bettered the Lions’ Last Eight finish at the tournament.

  • Patrick Mboma

    Africa Cup of Nations winners

    Cameroon had already won two Afcon crowns, but were without a title in 12 years by the time they reached the final of the 2000 tournament in Lagos.

    Tunisia were defeated 3-0 in the semi-finals during a magnificent display, inspired by Patrick Mboma, but things were much tougher in the final against Nigeria, where Cameroon’s two-goal first half lead was cancelled out by efforts from Christian Chukwu and Jay-Jay Okocha.

    The contest went to penalties, and while the late Marc-Vivien Foe missed for the Central Africans, they still secured the title after Nwankwo Kanu and Victor Ikpeba failed with their spot-kicks. 

    The start of a magnificent generation’s years of success had begun.


    Olympic Gold Medalists

    Seven months after Cameroon conquered the continent, their Golden Generation would clinch gold at the 2000 Summer Olympics, the only medal the nation claimed at the Games.

    They didn’t start too brightly, finishing second in Group C, but inspired by Mboma and Modeste M’Bami, they downed Ronaldinho’s Brazil with a Golden Goal winner in the quarter-final, and then rallied late again to defeat Chile in the semi, with Lauren netting a winner from the penalty spot in the 89th minute.

    The experience that saw Cameroon through against Nigeria on penalties at the Afcon served them well in the final in Sydney.

    Goals from Xavi and Gabri had given Spain a two-goal lead in the final, but this time it was the Indomitable Lions on the comeback, as Ivan Amaya’s own goal and Samuel Eto’o’s 58th-minute equaliser drew them level.

    During the shootout, the unfortunate Amaya missed his spot-kick, while M’Boma, Eto’o, Geremi, Lauren and Pierre Wome stepped up to guarantee a famous victory… and Olympic gold medals!

  • Cameroon Africa Cup of Nations 2017

    Africa Cup of Nations winners

    Two years after their success against Nigeria in Lagos, Cameroon arrived in Mali to defend their title.

    Now, the side were matured, and they were even more effective, having taken maximum points from their three group-stage matches with victories against the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ivory Coast and Togo.

    In the quarter-final, they secured a narrow victory over an Egyptian side who were themselves destined for the pinnacle of the African game, before dispatching the hosts in the semi-final.

    Again, for the third major final in a row, they required penalties to secure a major title, with a second consecutive title secured at the expense of a very fine Senegal team, who would reach a World Cup quarter-final months later.

    It was the first time a nation had retained the Afcon crown since Ghana in the mid-60s.