New Delhi: While it was evident that the two coaches were going to test their bench strength for the `replica` final, India were handed their first defeat under Wim Koevermans when Cameroon defeated the Blue Tigers 1-0 in the last match of the round-robin format.
Both the sides made plenty of changes in their starting line-up, with Manandeep Singh, Jewel Raja, Sanju Pradhan and Gurwinder Singh handed a start for India, while the Local Lions made nine changes to their starting line-up, with only Ebanga Bertin and Momaso Joseph retaining their place in the first 11.
With the two coaches preferrring to keep their first choice XI fresh for Sunday`s clash, one can expect an energetic final to be played at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in New Delhi despite the rains which leads to a soggy pitch, as the teams have gotten accustomed to the ground conditions by now.
The main focus however will remain on who will start for the two nations and the fact that India are ranked 168th in the world might not be much of a concern considering this is not Cameroon`s `Indomitabe Lions` side who are 59th in the FIFA Rankings.
Emmanuel Ndoumbe Bosso will be most likely to return to his 4-2-3-1 formation with tournament top scorer Ebanga Bertin playing upfront.
India`s 4-4-1-1 formation on the other hand will see the return of their captain Sunil Chhetri leading the attack, while it will be interesting to see who among Manandeep Singh, Robin Singh or Francis Fernandes joins him upfront.
The defending champions will have a tough going, with a strong midfield set-up of their rivals controlled by Kingue Mpondo to deal with.
Cameroon play a possession style football which is something Koevermans has been trying to instill in his side too, but the attacking instinct that the African nation is able to develop in their game is of a different level as compared to the Indians who will have to step up a gear or two.
First Published: Sunday, September 02, 2012, 09:36