Embolo scores, doesn’t celebrate as Swiss win at World Cup

Nov 23, 2022, 1:58 PM | Updated: Nov 24, 2022, 7:34 am
Switzerland's Breel Embolo, left, celebrates after scoring his side's opening goal during the World...

Switzerland's Breel Embolo, left, celebrates after scoring his side's opening goal during the World Cup group G soccer match between Switzerland and Cameroon, at the Al Janoub Stadium in Al Wakrah, Qatar, Thursday, Nov. 24, 2022. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)

(AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)

              Switzerland's Breel Embolo, left, celebrates after scoring his side's opening goal during the World Cup group G soccer match between Switzerland and Cameroon, at the Al Janoub Stadium in Al Wakrah, Qatar, Thursday, Nov. 24, 2022. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)
            
              Switzerland's Breel Embolo reacts after scoring during the World Cup group G soccer match between Switzerland and Cameroon, at the Al Janoub Stadium in Al Wakrah, Qatar,Thursday, Nov. 24, 2022. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)
            
              Switzerland's Breel Embolo holds his hands up after scoring during the World Cup group G soccer match between Switzerland and Cameroon, at the Al Janoub Stadium in Al Wakrah, Qatar,Thursday, Nov. 24, 2022. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)
            
              Switzerland's Breel Embolo, left, celebrates after scoring his side's opening goal during the World Cup group G soccer match between Switzerland and Cameroon, at the Al Janoub Stadium in Al Wakrah, Qatar, Thursday, Nov. 24, 2022. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)
            
              Switzerland's Breel Embolo reacts after scoring during the World Cup group G soccer match between Switzerland and Cameroon, at the Al Janoub Stadium in Al Wakrah, Qatar,Thursday, Nov. 24, 2022. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)
            
              Switzerland's Breel Embolo holds his hands up after scoring during the World Cup group G soccer match between Switzerland and Cameroon, at the Al Janoub Stadium in Al Wakrah, Qatar,Thursday, Nov. 24, 2022. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)
            
              Switzerland's Breel Embolo, left, celebrates after scoring his side's opening goal during the World Cup group G soccer match between Switzerland and Cameroon, at the Al Janoub Stadium in Al Wakrah, Qatar, Thursday, Nov. 24, 2022. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)
            
              Switzerland's Remo Freuler is sandwiched during the World Cup group G soccer match between Switzerland and Cameroon, at the Al Janoub Stadium in Al Wakrah, Qatar, Thursday, Nov. 24, 2022. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)
            
              Switzerland's Granit Xhaka jumps for a header with Cameroon's Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa, right, during the World Cup group G soccer match between Switzerland and Cameroon, at the Al Janoub Stadium in Al Wakrah, Qatar, Thursday, Nov. 24, 2022. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)
            
              A soccer fan waits in the stands before the World Cup group G soccer match between Switzerland and Cameroon, at the Al Janoub Stadium in Al Wakrah, Qatar, Thursday, Nov. 24, 2022. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)
            
              Switzerland's Breel Embolo celebrates after scoring then opening goal during the World Cup group G soccer match between Switzerland and Cameroon, at the Al Janoub Stadium in Al Wakrah, Qatar, Thursday, Nov. 24, 2022. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)
            
              Cameroon's Karl Toko Ekambi, left, fights for the ball next to Switzerland's Silvan Widmer during the World Cup group G soccer match between Switzerland and Cameroon, at the Al Janoub Stadium in Al Wakrah, Qatar, Thursday, Nov. 24, 2022. (AP Photo/Petr Josek)
            
              Cameroon's Martin Hongla, left, kicks the ball past Switzerland's Manuel Akanji during the World Cup group G soccer match between Switzerland and Cameroon, at the Al Janoub Stadium in Al Wakrah, Qatar, Thursday, Nov. 24, 2022. (AP Photo/Ricardo Mazalan)
            
              Switzerland's soccer team supporters cheer ahead of the World Cup group G soccer match between Switzerland and Cameroon, at the Al Janoub Stadium in Al Wakrah, Qatar, Thursday, Nov. 24, 2022. (AP Photo/Ricardo Mazalan)
            
              A Cameroon supporter cheers prior to the World Cup group G soccer match between Switzerland and Cameroon, at the Al Janoub Stadium in Al Wakrah, Qatar, Thursday, Nov. 24, 2022. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)
            
              Switzerland's Breel Embolo, left, is tackled by Cameroon's Jean-Charles Castelletto during the World Cup group G soccer match between Switzerland and Cameroon, at the Al Janoub Stadium in Al Wakrah, Qatar, Thursday, Nov. 24, 2022. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)
            
              Switzerland's Manuel Akanji, centre, attempts a head at goal between Cameroon's Tolo Nouhou, left, Cameroon's Nicolas Nkoulou during the World Cup group G soccer match between Switzerland and Cameroon, at the Al Janoub Stadium in Al Wakrah, Qatar, Thursday, Nov. 24, 2022. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)
            
              Soccer fans cheer prior of the World Cup group G soccer match between Switzerland and Cameroon, at the Al Janoub Stadium in Al Wakrah, Qatar, Thursday, Nov. 24, 2022. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)
            
              Cameroon's Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting, left, tries a shot during the World Cup group G soccer match between Switzerland and Cameroon, at the Al Janoub Stadium in Al Wakrah, Qatar, Thursday, Nov. 24, 2022. (AP Photo/Petr Josek)
            
              Switzerland's Breel Embolo, left, is challenged by Cameroon's Jean-Charles Castelletto, center, and Cameroon's Tolo Nouhou during the World Cup group G soccer match between Switzerland and Cameroon, at the Al Janoub Stadium in Al Wakrah, Qatar, Thursday, Nov. 24, 2022. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)
            
              Switzerland's Breel Embolo (7) scores his side's opening goal during the World Cup group G soccer match between Switzerland and Cameroon, at the Al Janoub Stadium in Al Wakrah, Qatar, Thursday, Nov. 24, 2022. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)
            
              Switzerland's Breel Embolo, right, scores his side's opening goal during the World Cup group G soccer match between Switzerland and Cameroon, at the Al Janoub Stadium in Al Wakrah, Qatar, Thursday, Nov. 24, 2022. (AP Photo/Ricardo Mazalan)
            
              Switzerland's Breel Embolo scores the opening goal during the World Cup group G soccer match between Switzerland and Cameroon, at the Al Janoub Stadium in Al Wakrah, Qatar, Thursday, Nov. 24, 2022. (AP Photo/Petr Josek)
            
              Switzerland's Breel Embolo, right, celebrates after scoring his side's opening goal during the World Cup group G soccer match between Switzerland and Cameroon, at the Al Janoub Stadium in Al Wakrah, Qatar, Thursday, Nov. 24, 2022. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)

AL WAKRAH, Qatar (AP) — Born in Cameroon but playing for Switzerland, of course Breel Embolo would score when those two countries met at the World Cup.

Embolo promised he wouldn’t celebrate if he scored for the Swiss team against his country of birth on Thursday, and he kept his word. It turned out to be the only goal of the match as Switzerland beat Cameroon 1-0.

“I would have liked him to be on my side,” said Cameroon coach Rigobert Song, who played in four World Cups for his home country, “but that’s not the way it went.”

The crowd waited and watched for Embolo’s reaction after he scored his 12th goal for Switzerland in the 48th-minute off a low pass from Xherdan Shaqiri.

He stood still in the goalmouth and first held his arms out wide, then raised his hands in a gesture of apology. He put his hands over his month as if realizing how profound the moment was as his Swiss teammates rushed toward him near the penalty spot.

Embolo then pointed toward the Swiss fans behind the goal where he had scored, and then to the Cameroon fans at the opposite corner of Al Janoub Stadium.

Even Song felt pride in the 25-year-old forward, who was born in the Cameroonian capital of Yaounde but played for Swiss national youth teams before getting a passport from his adopted country when he was 17.

“I am happy for him and also proud of him. He’s my little brother. We’ve often spoken to each other on the phone,” said Song, who was asked what he said to Embolo on the field after the game. “I thought he played a great game and I wanted to tell him. We’re still brothers at the end of the day.”

Switzerland coach Murat Yakin said he had offered some advice to Embolo about dealing with his emotions.

“You can be friendly up to kickoff,” Yakin said, “and after that they are our opponents.”

Embolo left Cameroon with his family when he was 5. They spent time in France before settling in Switzerland, the country he is now representing at a second World Cup.

Embolo spoke to Swiss television after the match and wished Cameroon luck for the rest of the tournament.

It could be a short World Cup for Cameroon, which still has to face Brazil and Serbia in Group G and has lost eight straight games at the tournament dating back to 2002.

MILLA TIME

Cameroon great Roger Milla was paraded on the field before the game. Fans were shown a video montage of his goals at the 1990 World Cup, where Cameroon became the first African team to reach the quarterfinals.

Milla was joined by Samuel Eto’o, Cameroon’s greatest player who now runs the country’s soccer federation. Eto’o scored the only goal when Cameroon last won a match at the World Cup — a 1-0 victory over Saudi Arabia in 2002.

QUIET DAY

Referee Facundo Tello had a quieter day than when he sent off 10 players in Argentina just before coming to Qatar. He showed red cards to seven Boca Juniors players and three from Racing Club after an extra-time brawl. In Qatar, Tello showed three yellow cards and no red cards.

UP NEXT

Switzerland will next play Group H favorite Brazil on Monday in Doha, the same day Cameroon faces Serbia.

___

AP World Cup coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/world-cup and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Embolo scores, doesn’t celebrate as Swiss win at World Cup