Cameroon didn’t need long to become one of the undeniable darlings of the 2015 Women’s World Cup.
With only one previous appearance in the World Cup, Cameroon didn’t enter with any sort of serious expectations — until it pounded Ecuador for a six-goal win to start the 2015 World Cup, which opened the door for Cameroon to reach the knockout stages for the first time.
It’s going to be a little more difficult to replicate the successes of 2015 this year. Cameroon is once again the underdog in the group and this time it will have an uphill climb in France after a 1-0 loss to Canada to open Group E play Monday in Montpellier.
The only goal came just before halftime when Kadeisha Buchanan soared to the back post off a cross to head home the decisive goal at Stade de la Mosson.
Cameroon’s often prolific offense had some chances in the second half and could never quite equalize against Canada, one of the top teams in the field.
At the same time, Cameroon was more unimpressive than it was impressive. Cameroon only had possession for 26 percent of the match and only ultimately attempted two shots, neither of which were on target. Canada, which scored on a corner kick, got 10 corners to Cameroon’s four.
It won’t get much easier for Cameroon moving forward, either. Cameroon continues group play Saturday against the Netherlands, then wraps up against New Zealand on June 20. The Netherlands, like Canada, are a top 10 team in the latest FIFA rankings and New Zealand checks in at No. 19. Cameroon, for comparison, begins the tournament as the No. 46 team in the world.
While another Cinderella run might be unlikely at this point, there are still a few more chances to remember how fun the team was in Canada four years ago.
In the 68th minute, Gaelle Enganamouit, now donning green hair, came on for Cameroon. In 2015, she scored a hat trick in Cameroon’s rout of Ecuador and Cameroon immediately played with a different energy when she entered Monday.
A full-bore upset run might not be in the cards for Cameroon this time, but there are still two more chances for Cameroon to pull off some of those moments which helped captivate the world in 2015.