Breel Embolo becomes first player in FIFA World Cup history to score a goal against country of birth

* Out of respect, his reaction was unusually muted as he barely celebrated his goal

* After the match, it was reported that a mob attacked his family’s residence in Yaoundé and burnt it down

* Born in 1997 in Yaoundé, his mother took with when she moved to France to attend school when he was five years old

By Duncan Mlanjira

Breel Embolo became the first player in FIFA World Cup history to score a goal for his adopted country against his country of birth, when his lone goal saw Switzerland beat Cameroon in Qatar on Wednesday.


According to Wikipedia, he wa born on February 14, 1997 in the Cameroonian capital Yaoundé and that his parents separated when he was very young.

When he was five or six years old, his mother moved to France to attend school and whilst there she met her future husband, a Swiss national and the young Breel received Swiss citizenship on December 12, 2014.

According to, the crowd waited and watched for Embolo’s reaction after he scored his 12th goal for Switzerland in the 48th-minute off a low pass from Xherdan Shaqiri.

He stood still in the goalmouth and first held his arms out wide, then raised his hands in a gesture of apology. He put his hands over his month as if realizing how profound the moment was as his Swiss teammates rushed toward him near the penalty spot.

Embolo then pointed toward the Swiss fans behind the goal where he had scored, and then to the Cameroon fans at the opposite corner of Al Janoub Stadium.

In his reaction, coach Rigobert Song, who played in four World Cups for his home country, told the media after the match: “I would have liked him to be on my side, but that’s not the way it went.”

After working his way through their junior teams, Embolo made his professional debut for Basel in March 2014, and won the Swiss Super League in all three of his first seasons before moving to Schalke 04 for an initial €20 million.


Shortly after moving to the Bundesliga, he suffered an ankle injury that ruled him out for nearly a year. He then made his senior international debut in March 2015 and represented Switzerland at UEFA Euro 2016, the 2018 FIFA World Cup and now Qatar 2022 edition.

Another player trending well in Qatar for scoring for his adopted country, is 22-year-old Timothy Tarpeh Weah — son to former professional soccer player, Ballon d’Or winner and President of Liberia, George Weah.

Timothy scored the all-important goal for USA in the 1-1 draw on Monday and it was notable for two reasons — it was USA’s first in World Cup play since 2014 and it came in front of his celebrated father, George, the 1995 Ballon d’Or winner, who never played on this biggest football stage.

“It’s an amazing feeling,” he is quoted as saying by ABC’s Good Morning America on Thursday. “I mean, you know, when he was playing he didn’t get the opportunity to take his country to a World Cup and now his son is here doing the best I can, so I know he’s proud.

“My dad and mom are going crazy in the stadium. I saw them when I scored. I know they’re proud of me and, you know, I just want to make them proud out here and continue to do well.”

Timothy’s mother, Liberia’s First Lady Clar Marie, is Jamaican-born and they were seen dining together in Qatar this week and later the President posted photos from the meal on Twitter.

The young Weah also told GMA media that it was a big moment for himself, hi family, teammates and the whole United States: “I mean as a kid, you know, growing up and playing football, you dream of scoring in a World Cup and in big moments and helping the team and I feel completely blessed and honored to be in this position and, you know, do that, so, yeah, I’m very happy.”

Born on February 22, 2000), Timothy is plays as a winger for French Ligue 1 club Lille and and earned his first senior international cap in 2018.

He made his full debut for USA in a 1–0 friendly win against on March 27, 2018, entering the match as a substitute for fellow debutant Marky Delgado in the 86th minute.

In his first international start in the friendly against Bolivia on May 28, 2018, Weah scored his first international goal and became the fourth-youngest player to score for the United States, ahead of Josh Sargent — who scored his first earlier in the match.