Cameroon head into the 2014 World Cup as a 28/1-ranked Pluto in the solar system of a Group-A winner betting market in which they must supplant Brazil, Croatia and Mexico to land the odds.
Theirs is a squad that will hold many familiar faces for fans of west London football, with sometime QPR stars Benoit Assou-Ekotto and Stephane M’Bia as well as Chelsea’s Samuel Eto’o within the ranks.
Before what could be a demoralising tournament for the perennially fractious camp of Les Lions Indomitables, there is a chance to post a heartening victory over South American foes, in the shape of Paraguay, when the sides do battle on neutral territory in Austria.
Volke Finke’s men look a very healthy price as marginal 6/4 favourites, with Los Guaranies only a children’s portion longer at 37/20, despite a woeful run of recent results.
Stalemate suckers can sate themselves of their staple at odds of 11/5, but the Cameroon win looks the wager to be on here.
Firstly their opponents are in a state of flux after shrugging off their usually reliable status to finish in the basement berth in CONMEBOL qualifying for World Cup 2014.
Not only that but they managed to dispense of a defensively-sound national footballing identity to ship the section’s highest goals-against count.
Manager Victor Genes has made steps to facilitate what could be a changing of the Paraguayan guard, but alongside several new younger players in the squad, older faces like Roque Santa Cruz and two-World-Cup veteran Cristian Riveros remain.
The Albirroja have won just once in their last nine games, with two of their four victories across 16 outings in the last two seasons gleaned against central American sticklebacks Guatemala and El Salvador.
Cameroon have won two of their last three games against similarly limited foes in Macedonia and Tunisia and should be able to pry open the Paraguayan rearguard here, despite the potential that they may be without Chelsea’s Samuel Eto’o and Fenerbahce’s Pierre Achille Webo, who are nursing knocks.
If the aforementioned goalhounds are absent, the likes of Bundesliga-based Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting (10 goals in 32 outings for Mainz this term) and 16-goal Ligue 1 scoring sensation Vincent Aboubakar will relish their chance to grip the baton.