Wednesday's meeting between Croatia and Cameroon has big implications for both teams: a loss here, and you're out. Cameroon are without Chelsea striker Samuel Eto'o due to injury, but the Croatians also have injury concerns of their own as Luka Modric is a game time decision. And with Mexico and Brazil drawing even in their game on Tuesday, one point will most likely not be enough for either of these teams to qualify out of the closer than expected Group A

Croatia comes into this match on the heels of a tough loss to host nation Brazil on opening day. Though brazil won 3-1, the Croatians put up a good performance and were without Bayern Munich striker Mario Mandjukic, who is no longer suspended and will most likely start at the helm. Croatia coach Niko Kovac will look to new Barcelona signing Ivan Rakitic in the case of a Modric absense to be the main creator and dictate the pace of the game, however the manager is lucky to be facing a Cameroon team without it's leader and best player.

Cameroon opened their World Cup campaign with a dissapointing loss to Mexico, who proved against the hosts that they are not an easy side to overcome. Two seemingly onside Mexico goals were dissallowed, and the African side showed little in the form of quality possesion or chances. The absense of Eto'o causes the already meager Cameroonian attack more issues, with the inexperienced 22-year-old Lorient forward Vincent Aboubaker expected to take his spot in the lineup. Coach Volker Fink has a lot to worry about in the Croatian attack, and if he desires the full three points, he may need to field a more attacking lineup than he did against Mexico. 

Neither team will want to concede the first goal in this match, so expect a cagey opening to the game. Croatia should dominate posession and look to play through the flanks following in Mexico's footsteps. By stretching Cameroon defensively, they will be able to open space for Mandjukic, and the midfield quality should be good enough to provide the 6'2" forward with enough opportunites for at least one goal. The Croatian depth in the high heat and humidity of the Arena Amazonia in Manaus will also be important, and I expect the Europeans to outclass their African counterparts. 

My Prediction: 2-0 Croatia

Betting Odds (via

Croatia:   -1 (-140)   -165 Moneyline
Cameroon:   +1 (+115)   +450 Moneyline
Draw:    +300