World Cup: Croatia crush sorry Cameroon to boost qualifying chances


TWO goals from lethal striker Mario Mandzukic helped Croatia dump 10-man Cameroon out of the World Cup and move to within a point of hosts Brazil at the top of Group A.

Former Arsenal midfielder Alex Song was sent off after Ivica Olic had given Croatia the lead and they made the most of their man advantage in the second half with Ivan Perisic netting before Mandzukic’s double.

Cameroon, missing Chelsea striker Samuel Eto’o through injury, were on the backfoot throughout and fell behind on 11 minutes when veteran forward Olic fired in Perisic’s low centre.

Shortly before half-time, Song was shown a straight red card by referee Pedro Proenca for punching Mandzukic – himself suspended for Croatia’s opening defeat against Brazil – in the back of his head off the ball.

Three minutes into the second half Perisic, who outshone star team-mate Luka Modric with a scintillating display, took full advantage of Cameroon goalkeeper Charles Itandje’s wayward kick to burst forward and score.

Mandzukic headed the third on 61 minutes, rising virtually unchallenged inside the box, then bagged his second and Croatia’s fourth when he tapped in after substitute Eduardo’s strike was parried into his path by Itandje.

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