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Cameroon boss Rigobert Song was left with some regrets despite beating five-time World Cup winners Brazil in their final Group G match in Qatar.
The Indomitable Lions failed to reach the last 16 after finishing in third, two points behind the South Americans and Switzerland.
Vincent Aboubakar’s superb stoppage-time header gave Cameroon a 1-0 win on Friday, but it was not enough to progress after a defeat by the Swiss in their opener and then a 3-3 draw with Serbia.
“We did win the match but we are disappointed because we realise now we could have done better in this tournament,” Song said.
“We do have a feeling of regret but you need to look on the positive side and I am satisfied with tonight’s performance.
“I realise this was a historic victory now we have beaten Brazil, so my players should be congratulated.”
Cameroon became the first African side to reach the quarter-finals of the World Cup in 1990, but have failed to progress from the group stages in six appearances at the finals since then.
Former Liverpool defender Song took charge after a third-placed finish at the Africa Cup of Nations on home soil in February, and after overcoming Algeria in a dramatic two-legged play-off to qualify, he believes his squad will have learnt from their experiences in Qatar.
“It’s a real shame that we have to go home now, but you need to look on the bright side,” the 46-year-old said.
“We need to keep working and keep moving. I trust in my players. We are a young team and we have seen a team getting stronger and stronger.
“The World Cup helped us to learn and we have to avoid making the mistakes we did in the first two matches.”
Aboubakar’s goal at the Lusail Stadium gave Cameroon their first win at the World Cup since beating Saudi Arabia in 2002 – and also made them the first African nation to beat Brazil in the tournament’s history.
“I’m trying to get across a team sprit, that lion’s spirit, which has been the key to Cameroon teams over the years,” Song said.
“Perhaps we haven’t had enough time together, but we can be a very, very good team.”
Indomitable Lions goalkeeper Devis Epassy, who started their final two matches after first-choice keeper Andre Onana left the squad, won the man-of-the-match award on Friday but his pride was tempered with disappointment.
“We can be proud of what we’ve done because we’ve shown that we can also be a top team. We worked very hard for each other,” he said.
“Unfortunately though, we don’t qualify for the next round. That’s why we are not too happy, but it’s not on account of the performance.”
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