Phil Neville says Cameroon will pose a threat his England team “has not experienced” in their last-16 Women’s World Cup game in Valenciennes on Sunday.
England’s three Group D victories came against higher ranked opponents than Cameroon – the lowest ranked side left in the competition.
But Neville said, “I don’t think they are the 46th best team in the world.
“They are better than that. They are a team who are very unpredictable.”
Cameroon dramatically beat New Zealand 2-1 in their final Group E game, scoring five minutes into injury time to reach the knockout stages of the competition as one of the best third-placed teams.
And Neville says the all-out attacking approach favoured by the Indomitable Lionesses will make them awkward opponents for England, who finished third at the finals in 2015.
“Alongside us, they were probably in the toughest group. They’ve navigated their way out of the group and have got dangerous players in the attacking third,” Neville said.
“They’re a team who will go for the victory. That is something we’ve not experienced so far – a team who will go for the victory. We’ve got to defend well against that and exploit those weaknesses.”
Head coach Alain Djeumfa, who succeeded Joseph Ndoko as Cameroon boss in January believes his side are “writing history” after reaching the knockout stages in successive finals.
Djeumfa, who was Cameroon’s fitness coach in Canada four years ago insists they are capable of springing a surprise, despite having had 24 hours less to prepare than England.
“Everything is in place for us to showcase our talents,” he said.
“I know these players inside out. They have been made for this and have a winning spirit, a fighting spirit.
“That is our strength and I can assure you that you will see this on the pitch.
“Cameroon is gaining in strength. We’re taking baby steps at the moment. We will be the underdog. But we have something up our sleeves like the boys.”
The winners will face Norway in the quarter-final at the Stade Oceane in Le Havre on Thursday 27 June (20:00 BST).
England have a fully fit squad to select from after Barcelona forward Toni Duggan returned against Japan. Reading’s Jade Moore is the only Lioness carrying a booking into the knockout stages.
Nigeria also have a full squad of players to select from though Christine Manie, Raissa Feudjio, Gaelle Enganamouit, Marlyse Ngo Ndoumbouck, Genevieve Ngo Mbeleck and Alexandra Takounda all start the game on yellow cards.
That means another booking would rule them out of any potential quarter-final, if Cameroon were to progress.
England face Cameroon in the last-16 of the tournament on Sunday at the Stade du Hainaut in Valenciennes (16:30 BST).
Where can I follow the games?
BBC Sport will have live coverage of every World Cup match across TV, radio, the Red Button and online from the group stages all the way through to the final.
Coverage of England v Cameroon will be available live on BBC One from 16:00 BST.
Players to watch
|Nationality: English Position: Forward Club: Lyon Age: 25|
The former Everton and Manchester City player became the Women’s Super League’s all-time top scorer last season prior to her move to European champions Lyon.
And the Footballer Writers’ Women’s Footballer of the Year, has already been identified by manager Phil Neville as someone who could develop intoone of the world’s best players.
Combined with an eye for goal, her pace, trickery and partnership with Lucy Bronze down the right flank usually provide the spark to England’s best attacking play.
|Nationality: Cameroonian Position: Forward Club: Valerenga Age: 26|
When it comes to Cameroon it is hard to overlook Valerenga forward Ajara Nchout as being their main source of inspiration.
The 26-year-old has pace to burn and the capacity to outfox defenders with her trickery, as New Zealand found out to their cost in their Group E encounter when she scored twice.
Competing in her second World Cup, Nchout will be hoping to galvanise the Indomitable Lionesses, to their best ever finish after they reached the same stage four years ago.
The key facts
- This will be the first ever competitive meeting between England and Cameroon. England won their only previous Women’s World Cup match versus African opposition, beating Nigeria in 1995 (3-2).
- Cameroon have reached the knockout stages of the Women’s World Cup for the second tournament in a row. On the other occasion they lost 1-0 to China in the last-16 in 2015.
- England have won each of their last four matches at the Women’s World Cup; the Lionesses have never before emerged victorious in five successive games in the competition.
- England failed to win any of their first three knockout stage matches at the Women’s World Cup (D1 L2) – however, in 2015, they won three of their four such games, only losing to Japan in the semi-finals thanks to a 90th minute own goal.
- Ellen White has scored more goals than any other England player at the 2019 Women’s World Cup, scoring three goals from six shots on target. If she scores versus Cameroon, White (4) will become the joint-highest scorer for the Lionesses in the competition alongside Fara Williams (5 goals).