Navigating a route through to the global showcase has become almost second nature for Cameroon, the traditional African giants having reached five of the last six final tournaments. Despite being regulars on the world stage, they were nonetheless made to wait for their initial breakthrough, testing themselves for the first time in 1970 but experiencing disappointment until finally making the cut in 1982. After missing out again in 1986, they then found the formula for consistent success, only falling short when a last-gasp penalty miss in their final game against Egypt deprived them of a place at Germany 2006.
FIFA World Cup finals history
Perhaps no team has done more to shake up perceptions of African football. The Indomitable Lions exited Spain 1982 at the group stage, but they ended their maiden excursion undefeated, having drawn 0-0 with both Peru and Poland and 1-1 with eventual winners Italy. Eight years later, they wrote themselves into the annals of the game by beating holders Argentina in the Opening Match and becoming the first African side to reach the quarter-finals, powered by the goals of evergreen striker Roger Milla. That breakthrough performance remains their finest showing, group-stage exits having followed in 1994, 1998, 2002 and 2010.
The current crop
Cameroon are still one of the most feared and respected sides on the continent, with iconic forward Samuel Eto’o perhaps destined to be regarded as the greatest African footballer of all time. Results since the turn of the century have done little to reflect the ability in their ranks, but after an under-par South Africa 2010 campaign and various internal problems, the Indomitable Lions will set off down the road to Brazil 2014 with genuine ambition. They will also boast a new generation of talent following the retirement of emblematic defender Rigobert Song.
The key players
In addition to the obvious charisma and goalscoring pedigree of Eto’o, Cameroon boast a number of gifted players in every department. Goalkeeper Carlos Idriss Kameni is a worthy successor to former No1s Thomas Nkono and Joseph-Antoine Bell, while the likes of Benoit Assou-Ekotto, Stephane M'Bia, Achille Emana, Joel Matip and Alexandre Song have all spent numerous years honing their skills in Europe’s most prestigious championships.
Coach: Jean-Paul Akono
Best performances in a FIFA competition: FIFA World Cup Italy 1990 (Quarter-finals), Men’s Olympic Football Tournament Sydney 2000 (Winners)
Former stars: Roger Milla, Marc-Vivien Foe, Rigobert Song