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Rediff.com  » Sports » Croatia trounce 10-man Cameroon, set up Mexico showdown

Croatia trounce 10-man Cameroon, set up Mexico showdown

Last updated on: June 19, 2014 05:38 IST

Croatia’s Ivica Olic celebrates after scoring his team's first goal against CameroonCroatia gave themselves a fighting chance of reaching the World Cup knock-out phase when they thrashed a toothless Cameroon 4-0 on Wednesday.

They were helped by a needless first-half red card for Alex Song. The defeat condemned the African side to an early exit.

Earlier in the day, defending champions Spain crashed out of the World Cup with barely a fight after their second shock defeat, while 2010 runners-up the Netherlands continued their perfect start, beating Australia 3-2.

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Thrashed 5-1 by the Dutch in their opening game, Spain's normally composed and incisive team again collapsed quickly at the back, this time against Chile who scored twice in the first half then held firm for a glorious 2-0 win.

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Croatia were too good for Cameroon. Ivica Olic put them ahead after 11 minutes and Ivan Perisic seized on a poor clearance by Cameroon keeper Charles Itandje to race forward and drive in the second after 48.

An unmarked Mario Mandzukic headed the third just after an hour and tapped in his second after 73 minutes as Croatia strolled to a comfortable victory.

Cameroon, who have won only one game in five World Cups following their 1990 heroics, were reduced to 10 men five minutes before half-time when Song bizarrely elbowed Mandzukic in the back as the two man chased back in a benign situation on the halfway line and, without injured striker Samuel Eto'o, barely managed an attack all night.

Brazil and Mexico each have four points in Group A with Croatia, beaten 3-1 by the hosts in their first game, on three.

Cameroon are without points from two games.

A win for Croatia against the Mexicans in Recife on Monday will put them into the last 16 for the first time since they reached the semi-finals in 1998.

Image: Croatia’s Ivica Olic celebrates after scoring his team's first goal against Cameroon.

Photograph: Matthew Lewis/Getty Images

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