Saturday, June 8, 2013

8 June 1990 - The Indomitable Lions Live Up To The Name

On 8 June 1990, Cameroon stunned Argentina in their opening match of the World Cup, beating the defending champions 1-0.

The Indomitable Lions had never won a World Cup match before, drawing all three games at their only previous tournament in 1982. In fact, no sub-Saharan African team had ever won a game at the tournament.

Few people would have predicted that to change when Cameroon took the field against Argentina at the San Siro in 1990, but they managed to contain the Argentinian attack, led by captain Diego Maradona, and played to a scoreless draw through the break. Their chances took a hit in the second half, however, when they lost midfielder André Kana-Biyik to a straight red card in the 61st minute.

Then, in the 67th minute, after a Cameroon free kick deflected high in the air in front Argentina's goal, allowing forward François Omam-Biyik to reach it and head it forward. Keeper Nery Pumpido got a hand to it, but could not corral the ball, which rolled over the line to put Cameroon up 1-0. Argentina pressed for an equalizer, but could not find it, even after Cameroon defender Benjamin Massing was ejected in the 89th-minute, bringing the Lions down to nine men.

Cameroon went on to win the group and advanced to the quarterfinals before losing to England 3-2 after extra time. Argentina advanced too, though, and reached the final where they lost to West Germany, 1-0.

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