The first match—and goal—of Thursday’s World Cup slate carried a bit of extra meaning for Breel Embolo.
The Switzerland striker opened the scoring against Cameroon less than three minutes into the second half, but he didn’t celebrate what would otherwise be a moment of pure joy. Embolo was born in Cameroon, moving when he was 5, and out of respect for his native land, he simply put his hands up and let his teammates do the celebrating for the go-ahead strike. Chicago Fire star Xherdan Shaqiri teed up the 25-year-old Monaco forward, who was left unmarked in the center of the box and was clinical with his finish.
Embolo had addressed the potentially awkward nature of the World Cup match in the days leading up to it.
"It's very special. It's my hometown and my mom and my dad come from there, my family, most of them come from there, so it's a special game for me and my family," Embolo said. “But most importantly it's a World Cup game. ... I'm proud and happy to be here and hopefully I will play against them (Cameroon) but most importantly is playing in a World Cup. It's always special."
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