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ANALYSIS-UPDATE 1-Soccer-No Song just a whimper as Cameroon crash out

Reuters

(Adds quote from Cameroon coach)

By Patrick Johnston

June 18 (Reuters) - Cameroon went down fighting - off the ball and amongst themselves - as they exited the World Cup on Wednesday with Alex Song adding a red card to the ill-disciplined African nation's long list in a thumping 4-0 defeat by Croatia.

The Europeans were already leading 1-0 when Barcelona midfielder Song opted for a petulant elbow smash into the back of Croatian striker Mario Mandzukic in the 40th minute of their Group A clash in Manaus on Wednesday.

As Mandzukic collapsed in agony, Portuguese referee Pedro Proenca swiftly dismissed Song - the eighth red card for Cameroon in seven World Cup finals appearances.

There was further unruly behaviour in the closing stages of the game when fullback Benoit Assou Ekotto and team mate Benjamin Moukandjo had to be separated after rutting heads.

"It's clear we have to find the reasons what's going on because such behaviour is really disgusting, it won't do, it's impossible," Cameroon coach Volker Finke said.

The unwanted red card total since their debut in 1982 can only be matched by Argentina, who the Indomitable Lions recorded their most famous World Cup victory against in 1990 despite having two men sent off in a 1-0 win in Milan.

While that side boasted dogged determination and the dancing and goalscoring talents of Roger Milla as they became the first African side to reach the quarter-finals, the 2014 edition is a poor imitation.

More known for ill-discipline and considered fortunate to qualify after they lost to Togo but were awarded the points after their opponents fielded an ineligible player.

Even after qualifying they almost didn't make it to Brazil after refusing to board the plane while a bonus dispute rumbled on.

National team coach Volker Finke said the players were complaining that the 50 million CFA francs ($104,000) offered was not enough. In Song's case it was arguably too much.

His stupid act left his team mates to amble around chasing Croatian shadows in the stifling Amazonian humidity as the Europeans expertly made the most of the extra space afforded to them to rack up the goals and set up a showdown with Mexico for a place in the knockout stages.

The 26-year-old's dismissal followed a disappointing season in Spain where his appearance time was limited for a second season since moving from Arsenal with Barca expected to ship him on - if they can find a buyer.

Many will also question his international future after the latest red as he followed in the footsteps of his uncle Rigobert who was sent off in both the 1994 and 1998 tournaments.

Song was banned for 18 months from the side after a bust up with star striker Samuel Eto'o at the 2010 finals where they lost all three group games. (Reporting by Patrick Johnston, Editing by Nigel Hunt)

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