Switzerland’s World Cup opener against Cameroon was full of personal ties for Breel Embolo, and he made an impact early in the second half.
The 25-year-old forward was born in Cameroon but took the field at Al Janoub Stadium wearing red for Switzerland. In the 48th minute, he proceeded to break a scoreless tie, but he refused to do any emphatic celebration against his native country.
Embolo grew up in Yaoundé, the capital of Cameroon, before moving to France with his mother when he was 5 years old. His mother met her future husband, a Swiss national, while there and moved to Basel, Switzerland, with her children shortly after. Embolo has owned a Swiss passport since 2014 and ultimately decided to play his international career with Switzerland over Cameroon.
Embolo made his senior debut with Switzerland in March 2015 at 18 years old. He made his first World Cup appearance with the Swiss in 2018 and picked up one assist across four matches.
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After Thursday’s match against Cameroon, Embolo and Switzerland will face Brazil on Monday, Nov. 28, and close out group play against Serbia on Friday, Dec. 2.