Cameroon v Croatia - World Cup 2014 - LIVE - Live coverage - The Independent

Cameroon v Croatia - World Cup 2014 - LIVE

Welcome to The Independent's live coverage of day seven of the World Cup with Sam Dymond and Samuel Stevens. We'll be bringing you all the news from Brazil including the latest from the England camp plus the build-up to tonight's games; Australia 2-3 Netherlands, Spain 0-2 Chile and Cameroon 0-4 Croatia...

  • Good morning and welcome to The Independent's live coverage of day seven of the FIFA World Cup in Brazil, and it's starting to get se...

    Hold on. Look, I realise the fixtures for the new domestic season were released this morning, but can we return to the matter at hand. Never mind Luton's trip to Carlisle on the opening weekend, a first Manchester Derby in November or Bournemouth versus Fulham on Boxing Day following Christmas dinner at James' in-laws, there's a World Cup going on here. That happens once every four years, Oldham play Leyton Orient every season. Literally.

    Back in Brazil, the second round of group games continue with three crunch fixtures later today. A week ago, Spain were the reigning world champions, now they're in danger of being sent home as a laughing stock. After their 5-1 thrashing to the Netherlands, defeat to Chile at 8pm this evening will almost certainly see them eliminated a week in to the finals.

    Before that, conquerers of the Spanish, the Netherlands take on Australia at 5pm. Both sides performed admirably in their first outings, but while the Dutch racked up five goals and three points, all the Socceroos could muster was a fine Tim Cahill header and some plaudits in the press. They'd happily swap that praise for a stunning three points in Porto Alegre.

    And then finally, at 11pm, Croatia meet Cameroon with their World Cup places on the line. Following defeats to Brazil and Mexico respectively in the opening round of games, the losing side tonight will find their hopes of progress to the knockout stages completely eradicated.

    I'm Sam Dymond, and I'll be here until 7pm before my colleague Samuel Stevens takes over, fresh from celebrating Igor Akinfeev's careless hands bringing an end to his run of goalless games. Between us, we'll be talking you through all three of today's matches as they happen, and if you want to have your say on any of these fixtures, England's prospects or anything World Cup related, then please tweet @sammydymond or email sam.dymond@gmail.com.
    6/18/2014 9:34:46 AM

  • Team News

    Following Spain's abominable second half display against the Dutch in Salvador last Friday, Vicente del Bosque has some big decisions to make ahead of tonight's crunch clash with Chlie. 

    Fernando Torres was chosen for a press conference yesterday, triggering speculation that he is likely to start in Rio, but his coach is keeping his cards close to his chest. Miguel Delaney considers what surprises Del Bosque may throw up with his team selection later today...

    It’s fair to say the Spain line-up is probably the most focused-upon in the World Cup so far, not least for its potential consequences. A wrong decision could lead to a remarkable failure: the defending champions falling at the group stage.
    Spain opt for three goalkeepers after Iker Casillas' horror showing against the Dutch.
    6/18/2014 11:34:06 AM
  • Centre Of Attention

    England forward Play-him-in-the-centre-or-drop-him Wayne Rooney is set to revert to his ordinary title of Wayne Rooney when Roy Hodgson shifts him into the hole in order to help England...erm...get out of a hole. The Independent's chief football correspondent, Sam Wallace, revealed that Rooney has lined-up in his favoured number ten position in training ahead of Thursday's Group D clash in Sao Paulo.

    It means that Raheem Sterling will move to the right, Danny Welbeck will start on the left and captain Steven Gerrard will be the new scapegoat if England fail to beat Uruguay.

    Having moved Rooney to the left for the Italy game on Saturday, a 2-1 defeat for Hodgson’s side, it now looks like the Manchester United man will return to a more familiar position, with Raheem Sterling moved to the wing. In training, Hodgson played with Sterling on the right and Danny Welbeck on the left, two days before England face Uruguay in Sao Paulo.
    6/18/2014 11:53:36 AM
  • Injury news

    Portugal's Fabio Coentrao will miss the remainder of the World Cup following the thigh injury suffered in the 4-0 defeat to Germany. The Real Madrid defender was stretchered off during the second half in Salvador and the news was revealed on the official Portugal Twitter account. I think.


    6/18/2014 12:08:16 PM
  • Australia v Netherlands

    The first game today takes place at the Estadio Beira-Rio in Porto Alegre where the Netherlands will be aiming to follow up that incredible opening victory against Spain when facing Australia to ensure their progression into the knockout stages. However, if they are to make that a reality at the earliest opportunity, they'll have to do something they've never done before - beat Australia.


    Even though the Netherlands are the favourites today, tradition has been against them as the Oranje have never beaten the Socceroos.
    6/18/2014 12:25:40 PM
  • Sterling Quality

    At every World Cup, it seems that England must pin their collective hopes on the shoulders of a single young man. For Michael Owen and Paul Gascoigne before him, this time read Raheem Sterling. Even allowing for a couple of questionable moments of ball-hogging and the fact that he tricked 98% of the watching world into celebrating a shot that hit the side netting, the 19-year-old was still the standout performer for the Three Lions in Saturday's defeat to Italy.

    The Independent's Sam Wallace has taken a closer look at the Liverpool forward, and believes there is more to come from him at these finals.

    On the inside of his left forearm, Sterling has a tattoo of the Wembley arch and a boy with a football under his arm looking up at it. The boy is wearing a No 10 shirt, which caused some amusement when he showed it to the press today, given the debate over his and Wayne Rooney’s best position. Sterling permitted himself a little smile, but this is his story and suddenly the boy with the ball under his arm has big responsibilities.
    6/18/2014 12:55:47 PM
  • Spain v Chile

    Spain's 5-1 loss to the Netherlands last Friday was the worst ever start to a World Cup by a reigning champion, and a second defeat this evening - this time against Chile in Rio de Janeiro - would rank somewhere between France 2002 and Manchester United 2013/14 in terms of defending a title. Indeed, only a win will really do for Spain if they are to convince the football public that they are capable of becoming the first European team to lift the World Cup on South American soil.

    However, they will not have it easy. Against Australia, opponents Chile showed flashes of the quality that has made them dark horses for many at this World Cup, and in their star striker, Alex Sanchez, they have a player that the Spaniards will know all about, given he plays his club football with Barcelona.


    Chile will be relying a lot on Alexis Sanchez who proved to be in great form last week as he scored one goal and made another against Australia.
    6/18/2014 1:27:31 PM
  • While it's been a brilliant World Cup on the field, it hasn't been quite so attractive off it - and for once I'm not referring to the prospect of England fans hurling plastic garden chairs through cafe windows.

    Instead, it's the commentators and pundits in Brazil who are taking the brunt of the criticism. From the polo shirts of the bored Mark Lawrenson to Jonathan Pearce, combining confusion and shouting as if he were the lunatic sat on the top deck of the 237, to Robbie Savage and his Worthington Cup. And then there's Adrian Chiles, a man who has become so unbearable that his studio now needs reinforced glass fitted to keep out missiles from angry protesters and Roy Keane.

    There have been some impressive performances - some quite unexpected - and Neil Lennon, Danny Murphy, Rio Ferdinand and Clarence Seedorf get a thumbs up from here - for now. Either way, we're not concerned with the competent; instead Will Dean ponders just who has been the worst pundit of the lot?

    Lawro remains one of the few pundits willing to call a dull game a spade, but often seems so uninterested that you can almost hear him daydreaming about getting back to the hotel bar for a quick snifter of Martell. 

    Thierry Henry mugs off Robbie Savage
    by Funny videos via YouTube
    6/18/2014 1:54:18 PM
  • Cameroon v Croatia

    It's not much winner-takes-all in Manaus later this evening, rather loser-goes-home when Cameroon and Croatia meet for the first time. Both sides know that the combination of Brazil's draw with Mexico last night coupled with their opening match defeats means that another loss in the second round of fixtures will spell elimination for either country at the earlier opportunity.

    The Croats haven't been the best at keeping their cool on this stage when the chips are down, having amassed six red cards in their last nine World Cup fixtures - although that's a figure that could have been deflated or inflated by Graeme Poll's refereeing. However, Niko Kovac's team will kick-off as odds-on favourites against an Indomitable Lions outfit who have won just one of their 14 matches at the finals, and are now likely to be without talisman Samuel Eto'o.


    The situation does not look promising for Cameroon with their star player Samuel Eto’o almost certainly out of Wednesday’s match. The former Chelsea striker picked up a knee injury during the closing stages of the season and manager Volker Finke will likely replace him with Fenerbahce's Pierre Webo.
    6/18/2014 2:30:44 PM
  • Attention now turns to the day's first kick-off between the Netherlands and Australia, and you wouldn't think there would be much for current Dutch boss - and future Manchester United gaffer - to moan about right now following their eye-catching destruction of Spain last Friday.

    You'd be wrong.

    The 62-year-old has complained that his position in the dugout at the Estadio Beira-Rio, where his side play today, offers 'no view' because of a television camera that overhangs the manager's position, and that he'd need a bar stool to give himself a satisfactory vantage point.

    That would make him the first football manager more at home on a bar stool since...(NO! - Ed)

    6/18/2014 2:54:42 PM
  • Numbers not pictured: Amount of protesters arrested in Brazil, goalkeeping mistakes and gaffes by Jonathan Pearce.


    6/18/2014 2:56:08 PM
  • At this time, we ask anyone needing assistance or those with young children to come forward for boarding...


    6/18/2014 3:19:18 PM
  • The Australian and Dutch teams are in from Porto Alegre. Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou makes two changes to the team that were valiant in defeat against Chile; in comes Ryan McGowan for the injured Ivan Franjic while Matthew McKay takes the place of Mark Milligan. Unsurprising, Luis Van Gaal sticks with the same team that put five past Spain last Friday which means the Netherlands line up in a 5-3-2 formation with Robin van Persie and Arjen Robben, four goals between them already, leading the team up top.

    Australia: Ryan, Davidson, Cahill, Spiranovic, Leckie, Oar, Jedniak, McKay, McGowan, Wilkinson, Bresciano

    Subs: Milligan, Wright, Taggart, Halloran, Langerak, Bozanic, Troisi. Holland, Galekovic, Vidosic, Luongo

    Netherlands: Cillessen, Vlaar, De Vrij, Martins Indi, Blind, De Jong, Janmaat, De Guzman, Van Persie, Sneijder, Robben

    Subs: Verhaegh, Veltman, Kongolo, Kuyt, Clasie, Lens, Fer, Huntelaar, Wijnaldum, Depay, Vorm, Krul

    Referee: Djamel Haimoudi (Algeria)
    6/18/2014 3:38:55 PM
  • The fans are taking their seats inside the Estadio Beira-Rio...

    Meanwhile, I've had a horrifying flashback to a traumatic incident as a child when I drank six cans of Tango while watching The Wizard Of Oz.

    6/18/2014 3:44:32 PM
  • There's an estimated 15,000 Australians inside the Estadio Beira-Rio this afternoon, drinking lager, calling people 'mate' and saying 'look' at the start of each sentence. They've just sung their national anthem with great gusto - a polite way of saying it was tuneless - and now kick-off is moments away.
    6/18/2014 3:57:56 PM
  • BREAKING NEWS

    And it's good news for England...


    Hang on, I've just had a West Brom fan on the phone, and I'm informed that's a typo. It should read "And it's good news for Uruguay..."
    6/18/2014 4:00:23 PM
  • KICK-OFF: We're off and running in Porto Alegre, and it doesn't take Nigel de Jong long to make his mark on proceedings. And by proceedings, I mean Tommy Oar's ankle. The Dutch enforced came down on the Utrecht man with two feet inside the opening two minutes, and is lucky to escape a caution. The free-kick is a first chance for Australia to test their opponents with an aerial ball, but the set-piece comes to nothing.
    6/18/2014 4:04:43 PM
  • 7 mins: That De Jong tackle isn't the only full-bloodied challenge in the opening exchanges. Tim Cahill and Ryan McGowan have both let their markers know that they're there. The stop-start beginning has meant that the Dutch have failed to regain the stride and swagger that they finished their last fixture with, and on the one occasion that Arjen Robben did see the ball in the final third, his control was uncharacteristically poor and the chance disappeared before it really existed.
    6/18/2014 4:10:27 PM
  • 11 mins: Matt Leckie, one of the Aussies best performers against Chile, has just raced 20 yards in the searing heat to close down Bruno Martins Indi, and block his path towards Daley Blind with an excellent slide tackle. It's an incredibly intense opening from the Socceroos, which surely can't be sustained.

    6/18/2014 4:14:04 PM
  • 16 mins: Beach cricket, barbies and all that caper means Leckie is still tearing around at full pelt. His persistence saw him intercept a loose ball and gallop away down the right flank where his square ball across edge of the penalty area found Mark Bresciano. The midfielder took a touch to control the cross, and that was enough time for the Dutch to get defensive bodies between the ball and the goal, and deflect the shot behind for a corner. It's been positive so far from the Australians.
    6/18/2014 4:19:03 PM
  • 20 mins: GOAL! AUSTRALIA 0 HOLLAND 1:

    That's one way to stop the Australians in their tracks! Arjen Robben has used his pace and trickery to open the scoring with a brilliant goal. There looked to be no danger when the ball was played towards the forward on the halfway line, but he dropped his shoulder to shimmy past Alex Wilkinson, and then accelerated away towards goal. Not one Australian could keep pace with the flying Dutchman and, as soon as Robben had a sight of goal inside the box, he fired left-footed, low and hard, past the outstretched leg of Mat Ryan and into the far right-hand corner. A third goal of these finals for the Bayern Munich man.

    6/18/2014 4:20:09 PM
  • 21 mins: GOAL! AUSTRALIA 1 HOLLAND 1:

    WOW! WHAT AN EQUALISER FROM TIM CAHILL! AND YOU JUST MIGHT NOT SEE A BETTER GOAL THIS WORLD CUP! Straight from their kick-off, Australia went for the jugular and, when Matt Leckie managed to flick the ball out wide for Ryan McGowan, the full-back played a long, looping cross towards Cahill in the area. What followed was simply sublime as the Aussie veteran kept his head over the dropping ball to meet it first time on the volley. His shot rocketed over Jasper Cillessen, crashed off the underside of the crossbar and flew into the net. Incredible!

    6/18/2014 4:21:33 PM
  • 31 mins: Mark Bresciano goes agonisingly close to putting the Aussies into a shock lead. Once again, it was Leckie at the heart of it, battling his way down the right wing to fire across a low centre. It missed the Aussies congregated in the area, but the Al Gharafa man was arriving on the edge of the box. His first-time sidefoot, however, lacked composure and the ball soared over the bar.
    6/18/2014 4:34:31 PM
  • 32 mins: The chances are falling to Australia! This time it's the defender Matthew Spiranovic making a nuisance of himself in the box, wriggling himself free of his marker, but he found himself off balance by the time the ball arrived from a deep free-kick. The centre-back did connect, but not powerfully enough, and his shot rolled into the grateful hands of Cillessen.
    6/18/2014 4:36:58 PM
  • 41 mins: There's not many in the watching world who wouldn't have been shocked by that Cahill equaliser, but the Dutch players seem more shocked than anyone. They've struggled to get any type of possession going, and the Australians are closing them down on them at every moment. Mind you, it was like that before they took the lead so maybe they'll just need to rely on Arjen Robben for more magic.
    6/18/2014 4:44:40 PM
  • 43 mins: Tim Cahill has blotted his copybook somewhat with a crunching late challenge on Bruno Martins Indi. It earns the former Everton man a yellow card from referee Djamel Haimoundi that will keep him out of their final group match against Spain as it's his second booking of the tournament. It means that this is highly likely to be the last ever World Cup appearance for the 34-year-old.

    Sadly, it's also a tackle that Martins Indi has been unable to recover from, and the Dutch defender has departed on a stretcher to be replaced by Memphis Depay - which is also likely to bring a change of formation to 4-3-3 for Luis Van Gaal's men.

    6/18/2014 4:47:54 PM
  • HALF-TIME - AUSTRALIA 1 NETHERLANDS 1:
    6/18/2014 4:48:04 PM
  • There's nothing we like more than unconfirmed rumours at Indy HQ, and this is a belter...


    6/18/2014 4:51:31 PM
  • SECOND HALF KICK-OFF: Matt Leckie has the ball in the net inside 12 seconds of the restart, but the whistle had long gone for a foul by the rampaging Australian man. Replays show contact was minimal, and the Australians can feel a little hard done by already.

    Moments later, Robin van Persie launches a flailing arm into the face of Spiranovic, and receives a yellow card that will keep him out of the next game against Chile. It's a petulant swing from the Dutch striker, and he could have few complaints if he'd seen red. As it is, he's still having a moan about the booking.

    Meanwhile, Jamesdar reckons that Louis Van Gaal will have been throwing cups of tea around at half-time. Let's face it, he'll never fit in at Old Trafford until he launches a football boot at one of his own player's head.
    6/18/2014 5:07:54 PM
  • 50 mins: Wesley Sneijder hasn't been much of an attacking threat at these finals so far, but the Galatasaray man has just tried his luck from distance and brought a finger tip save from Mat Ryan. In truth it was going wide, but it was a good reaction stop nonetheless.
    6/18/2014 5:10:36 PM
  • 53 mins: PENALTY! GOAL! AUSTRALIA 2 NETHERLANDS 1:

    The Aussies lead the Dutch in Group B! Mile Jedinak has just shown immense composure to convert right-footed from 12 yards and put his country in front in Porto Alegre! It was an extremely controversial decision from Algerian referee Djamel Haimoundi, who pointed to the spot when substitute Oliver Bozanic fired a cross into Daryl Janmaat's arm at close range, but that didn't stop the Crystal Palace midfielder taking advantage of the good fortune by sending Jasper Cillessen the wrong way from 12 yards.

    6/18/2014 5:10:50 PM
  • 58 mins: GOAL! AUSTRALIA 2 NETHERLANDS 2:

    Another quick reply, this time from the Dutch! Robin van Persie has equalised for the Netherlands, after being played onside by left-back Jason Davidson. The rest of the Australian defence had stepped out when substitute Memphis Depay slipped a through ball beyond them and into the area, but Davidson's hesitancy left Van Persie with masses of time and space to smash a left-footed finish past Mat Ryan and into the roof of the net. It's all square again!

    6/18/2014 5:15:15 PM
  • 64 mins: Robin van Persie is treading a fine line, and it's not the first time I've typed that this season. The Holland goalscorer has already been booked, and  jumped in on Jerdinak with his feet off the ground. He played the ball first, but his trailing leg clattered the Australian midfielder and left him in a heap on the pitch. 
    6/18/2014 5:25:06 PM
  • 68 mins: GOAL! AUSTRALIA 2 NETHERLANDS 3:

    The Dutch are back in front, but Australia goalkeeper Mat Ryan won't want to see this again! Substitute Memphis Depay picked the ball up in midfield, ran towards goal and let fly from 30 yards. The ball was swerving towards the far corner, but the Brugge stopper still should have kept it out. Instead, the shot evaded his fingers and nestled in the back of the net.

    It's even harder for the Socceroos to take because a minute before the goal, they wasted a glorious chance to retake the lead when three on two inside the area. Unfortunately for Postecoglou's men, Oar's cross was thumped straight into the chest of the unmarked Leckie eight yards from goal, and the Dutch took immediate advantage.

    6/18/2014 5:25:30 PM
  • 74 mins: Ryan is attempting to atone for his error, and has made two fine stops to keep out Van Persie and De Jong in the past few minutes.

    Meanwhile, Tim Cahill has gone off for the Australians, replaced by Ben Halloran. It's highly likely that the substitution brings the curtain down on Cahill's World Cup career.
    6/18/2014 5:33:44 PM
  • 80 mins: Matthew Leckie has gone to ground twice in the past few minutes, once bringing a free-kick just outside the box that was defended well, and once bringing the ire of Ron Vlaar. The burly centre-half was furious with the Australian winger for what he perceived as diving inside the penalty area. He's probably got a point, but he didn't seem so incredulous when Arjen Robben did the same thing at the other end moments earlier.

    6/18/2014 5:42:16 PM
  • 90 min: Australian substitute Ben Halloran tries to muster a last opportunity for his side, but having held the ball up to allow his teammates time to flood the penalty area, he lofted his cross straight behind for a goalkick. There will be three minutes of time added on.
    6/18/2014 5:49:34 PM
  • 90+3 mins: The final opportunity falls to the Dutch, and another substitute in Jeremain Lens, but after he turns Wilkinson one way and then the other in the box, he fires his shot straight at the feet of Ryan.
    6/18/2014 5:51:25 PM
  • FULL TIME - AUSTRALIA 2 NETHERLANDS 3:
    6/18/2014 5:51:38 PM
  • TEAM NEWS: DIEGO COSTA STARTS FOR SPAIN

    Leading the line: The Chelsea-bound striker starts 

    Good evening ladies and gentleman, Samuel Stevens here to take you right through until 1am as Spain look to reignite their World Cup challenge against Chile before Croatia take on Cameroon in the evening's late kick-off.

    The Netherlands, courtesy of that thrilling 3-2 victory over Australia, have just reaffirmed their credentials to win this year’s tournament. Scoring eight goals in two games, they've already hit the back of the net more times than the current holders managed in South Africa in 2010.

    Their previous victims, Vicente Del Bosque’s Spain, now have the opportunity to kick-start their World Cup against the hipsters’ choice Chile.

    Lose tonight, however, and they’ll be this summer’s first causality. What were the odds on that a fortnight ago?

    Here are tonight’s teams on a huge night in Group B…

    Spain: Iker Casillas, Cesar Azpilicueta, Jordi Alba, Sergio Busquets, Javi Martínez, Sergio Ramos, Pedro, Xabi Alonso, Diego Costa, David Silva, Iniesta.

    Chile: Claudio Bravo, Mauricio Isla, Eugenio Mena, Gonzalo Jara, Francisco Silva, Gary Medel, Charles Aránguiz, Marcelo Díaz, Arturo Vidal, Alexis Sánchez, Eduardo Vargas.

    Get your tweets into @SamuelTStevens.
    6/18/2014 6:14:05 PM
  • LA ROJA TO REIGN SUPREME?

    A new footballing superpower? 

    Jorge Sampaoli's Chile side go into tonight's clash with world champions Spain with every chance of knocking their opponents out of the tournament.

    Having featured in the inaugural World Cup before finishing third as the hosts in 1962, there is quiet optimism in South America that another golden generation has been born.

    Earning plenty of plaudits for their performances in South Africa four years ago, Sampaoli has now been tasked with taking his side to the quarter-finals - at least.

    The draw, which placed them alongside Spain and Holland in Group B, initially dampened these expectations but last week's demolition of Vicente Del Bosque's men has provoked new found optimism.

    Can they do it? Vote in our poll and we'll announce the results before kick-off.
    6/18/2014 6:32:57 PM
  • We're getting reports of some crowd trouble in the Estádio Maracanã this evening - and this picture appears to confirm it. Chile fans without a match ticket for the clash with Spain have reportedly broken into the stadium.

    Here's hoping it is quelled before kick-off.

    6/18/2014 6:42:27 PM
  • CAN SPAIN EVADE THE FOOTBALLING VULTURES? 


    Vicente Del Bosque cut a desolate figure after the Netherlands' 5-1 humiliation of his Spanish side's World Cup credentials on Friday night.

    The world's media - who had already accused Spain of playing boring football beforehand - reacted with glee as their impervious wall appeared to crumble.

    Tonight's match, as Cesc Fabregas bluntly puts it, is a matter of 'life and death' for the reigning champions. 

    Win tonight and their tournament is back on track, lose and the downfall will be complete.

    Can they prove their doubters wrong? Vote in our poll and we'll announce the results before kick-off.
    6/18/2014 6:47:51 PM
  • TEN MINUTES TO KICK-OFF!

    6/18/2014 6:51:17 PM
  • POLL RESULTS: The Independent readers fancy Spain to recover from their nightmare start.

    As the players trudge out for tonight's game at a damp Estádio Maracanã, you folks reckon the Spanish will get back to winning ways against Chile tonight. 

    50% of you voted for Vicente Del Bosque's men to collect all three points while just 28% fancy Chile to win. Time will tell...
    6/18/2014 6:56:59 PM
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