Vincent Abubakar scored the winner in the 92nd minute and was sent off a minute later after receiving a second yellow card for taking his shirt off in celebration. But the result did not change the fate of the two sides.
As it happened | Schedule & results | Points table
Brazil, who already qualified for the last 16 before the game, finished top of Group G with six points, ahead of Switzerland, who defeated Serbia 3-2 in the other group game, on goal difference. Cameroon ended their campaign with four points and third in the group. Serbia went out at the bottom with only one point.
The game was dominated by second-tier Brazil, with coach Tite making nine changes to his starting line-up, but they failed to score a goal despite 21 attempts on goal, seven of which were on target and 65% possession. .
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Brazil will face Group H runners-up South Korea in the next round, who defeated Portugal 2-1.
Cameroon, whose last win at the 2002 World Cup was against Saudi Arabia, trailed for most of the game, but came alive after death. Aboubakar headed past Ederson with a header.
The match was played out in a relatively subdued atmosphere at the cavernous Lusail Stadium, the tournament’s largest venue, with Brazil’s reserves eager to impress but Tite’s side unable to display their usual flair.
Gabriel Martelli was Brazil’s liveliest player and almost put the five-time champions ahead in the 14th minute when he was singled out by Fred’s ball over the top, but the Arsenal striker’s header secured a fine save from Davis Epassy.
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Cameroon presented almost no attacking threat until stoppage time of the first half, when Nicolas Moumi Ngamaleu’s cross was answered with a powerful down header from Bryan Mbeumo that one-handed Ederson clawed away at full force.
Having seen enough, Tite made a triple substitution shortly after the break, bringing in Marquinho for the injured Alex Telles and Rodrygo and replacing Fred with Everton Ribeiro and Bruno Guimaraes.
The substitutes sent Brazil into a sudden flurry of chances, with Epassy forced into action three times in as many minutes.
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First, Martinelli jabbed a shot into the palms of the Cameroonian keeper in the 56th minute.
Then Eder Militao tried his luck from the ensuing corner kick and elicited a fumble from the Cameroon keeper, who recovered to take the ball to safety, before the lively Antony got in the act and forced Epassy into a diving save to match his curling effort.
Tite sent off Pedro in the 64th minute and Rafinha in the 79th as Brazil tried to maintain their perfect group record, but Cameroon clung on until Aboubakar arrived in the right place at the right time to seize his moment.
(With input from agencies)