Newcomers Cameroon are playing above their heads at the 2015 Women's WC Finals. Are these debutants on the verge of a Cinderella run? Find out as we preview their R16 clash with China PR and serve up our soccer picks.
Cameroon's debut at the world finals couldn't have gone better had they scripted it themselves. Indeed, the Lions looked to be dab hands at these high profile finals. Living up to their moniker they came out ferociously against Ecuador, throwing down the gauntlet with a 6-0 evisceration of the South American hopefuls. In round 2, they faced a stiffer test in defending champions Japan but, nonetheless they fought valiantly in a narrow 2-1 defeat. In the final group E match, they gave Switzerland a run for its money and eked out a 2-1 victory, against the soccer odds no less clinching second place. Indeed, they came through for us on our soccer picks.
Cameroon's group record stands at 2-0-1 and 6 points and includes scoring nine goals and conceding three.
China PR sent an inexperienced side to Canada, but they put paid on any concerns that might have raised as they advanced into the knockouts behind a 1-1-1 mark in group A action, which was enough to clinch second place. They finished a point behind hosts Canada and tied with Netherlands on points.
China represent one of four Asian nations to reach the R16. It's the first time in the history of this competition that the Asian continent has seen so many of its representatives qualify (five entered and only Thailand were sent packing at the conclusion of group betting).
As far as the finals goes, China was once the Asian powerhouse. That honour rests firmly with Japan after winning the 2011 finals in Germany over USA. But the Chinese still have a tradition of success that this instalment of ladies is going to want to live up to in the knockouts. The Chinese have made six appearance at the finals (the only finals they failed to qualify for was 2011). They've made the knockouts of each and every finals (including Canada, obviously) and their best finish was runners-up at USA 1999.
In group play, China put in a balanced performance scoring and conceding three goals apiece. Their best accounts were beating Netherlands and giving Canada a run for its money on opening day. Had it not been for the costly penalty, they might have held the hosts to a scoreless draw, which would have been a brilliant achievement.
China PR -105 vs. Cameroon +300; Draw +230
The soccer betting line tips towards the Chinese at -105 soccer odds, largely down to the nation's experience at these finals. However, this particular instalment features a lot of young players without a whole lot of international caps to their credit, making them rather closer to the debuting Lions.
Cameroon, meanwhile, are priced rather large at +300 soccer odds in the R16 stage of Women's World Cup Futures betting markets. Understandably, they've never been to the knockouts. The occasion, the nerves, the excitement are going to be challenging to contain and overcome. Still, this side has shown it can hang with some of the best teams in the game, including the defending champions so it would be a grievous error to overlook them.
Soccer Betting Verdict
Arguably, this is one of the toughest games to call. At this stage of the tournament, soccer bettors quite rightly prefer to lean towards nations that have experience at this level. The know-how and coaching decisions are going to be pivotal towards the win.
Yet, something about these Lionesses just captures the imagination. Conjures images of 1990 when the men's Cameroon side rode the waves of a Cinderella run into the quarterfinals, inspired by the great Roger Milla, who pioneered imaginative goal celebrations, amongst which was introducing the world to his trademark dance at the corner flag.
Imagine if the Lionesses were to defy the soccer odds and advance into the quarterfinals over the fancied Chinese. If only just to bring back the dance at the corner flag. It would be something. What the hey, everybody loves a Cinderella story at big competitions. The shoe fits so to speak, so we're taking a chance on the Lionesses at +300 to win outright.
Soccer Free Picks: Cameroon +300 at bet365