Switzerland’s Breel Embolo scored the only goal against Cameroon – his homeland – in a hard-fought World Cup Group G opener.
Embolo refused to celebrate when he finished off a deft Swiss attack shortly after halftime.
The Indomitable Lions were unlucky to lose after an enterprising display at Al Janoub Stadium in Qatar.
Victory was vital for Switzerland, as both teams have yet to face Brazil in the group.
Embolo moved to Switzerland from Cameroon with his family when he was six years old and pledged allegiance to the European nation after being granted citizenship in 2014.
At just 18 years old, he created the Embolo Foundation to support refugee children in Switzerland and underprivileged children in his country of birth.
He said before the match that it would be “a very special occasion” to play against Cameroon and when he scored he respectfully raised his arms and closed his eyes.
His goal secured victory for a team with high expectations – boss Murat Yakin said his side were “the best Swiss team ever” and said he expected them to achieve their goal. best comeback at a World Cup.
Still, they struggled in the first half against a dynamic start in Cameroon and should have fallen behind, with Eric Choupo-Moting, Bryan Mbeumo and Martin Hongla all missing presentable opportunities.
The goal rocked Cameroon and the Swiss had chances to extend their lead, only for Andre Onana to save superbly from Ruben Vargas, while Embolo and substitute Haris Seferovic were denied by the ultimate defence.
The Indomitable Lions have now lost eight consecutive games in the World Cup final, but Rigobert Song’s side have impressed here at times.
Their next game against Serbia will be crucial if they are to have any chance of becoming the first Cameroonian team to progress beyond the group stage since 1990.
For Switzerland, the victory gives them breathing space ahead of their match against group favorites Brazil on Monday.