Croatia handily defeated ten-men Cameroon 4-0 today in a decisive Group A matchup in the Arena Amezonia in Manaus. Cameroon was without star striker, captain, and all time leading goal scorer Samuel Eto'o due to injury. Croatia and Bayern Munich striker Mario Mandjukic scored a brace after missing his teams opening match against Brazil due to injury. Luka Modric, who was a game time decision was ruled fit to play and opened up alongside new Barcelona signing Ivan Rakitic in the midfield.  Cameroon opened up the game brightly, attacking the Croatian goal early from the right flank with Vincent Aboubaker causing havoc for the Croatian defense. But their good start was canceled out after 11 minutes when Mandjukic chested the ball down to Ivan Perisic who found Ivica Olic free at the far post for an easy finish and the early lead. The goal injected energy and confidence into the Croatians who continued to attack and looked threatening in the Cameroonian third. They should have had a second in the 16th minute when, following a good corner, Perisic failed to score from three yards out.  The Croatians controlled the majority of the first half, although the aggressive Cameroonians didn't lose focus and defended stoutly. All that, however changed on 40 minutes when Barcelona Alex Song midfielder was shown a straight red card for punching Mario Mandjukic in the back about 10 yards off the ball. A silly play by the Cameroonian right before halftime left the 'Indomitable Lions' down a man and down a goal -- a bad combination against an experienced Croatia squad. 

RTR3UJG5 Alex Song sees red after a silly foul on Croatian Mario Mandjukic Reuters

And the Croatians didn't look back. Two minutes after the restart, Perisic took a poor clearance by Cameroonian keeper Charles Itandje all the way from the halfway line and in two touches got himself in striking distance and fired home to double the Croatian advantage. The Croatians tripled their lead on 61 minutes when Mario Mandjukic headed a well delivered corner in from seven yards out. Down and out, the Cameroonians were defeated and deflated. 

RTR3UJLS Mario Mandjukic celebrates after scoring a goal Reuters

And the Croatian's were ruthless against the 10 men of Camreroon. In the 73rd minute, an on target shot from substitute Eduardo was parried away by Itandje straight into the path of the wide open Mandjukic who made no mistake and put in the Croatian's fourth. Cameroon substitute Pierre Webo nearly brought one back for his team, but his downward header bounced off the hard turf and hit the cross bar.  Croatia should have had a few more goals in the closing minutes as Cameroon committed many men forward, but a combination of bad luck and poor touches let the Africans off the hook. Four goals was more than enough to eliminate Cameroon and give Croatia a fighting chance to advance, although a good result against Mexico on June 23rd will likely decide who goes on. Cameroon plays Brazil on the same day in a match between a side that is sure to advance and a side already eliminated.