Hoddle fielded a changed side from that which took on Italy in Rome last month, for the final game at Wembley for England this year. The England coach is experimenting for next year's World Cup and brought in Martyn, Hinchcliffe, Phil Neville, McManaman, Scholes and Fowler to take the places of Seaman, Adams, Le Saux, Batty, Sheringham and Wright. Hoddle will not be disappointed with the changes he made and they will give him something to think about over the next few months, although he did not use this game to try a new system.
After the first few minutes had elapsed uneventful, England were the first to pose a serious threat. Hinchcliffe, playing his first international since Moldova in September 1996, took the ball from just inside Cameroon's half, ran down the left wing and crossed it into the box. Scholes was there, but couldn't control the ball but Fowler could and put the ball in the net. The goal was ruled offside with the Liverpool striker being the culprit.
The play was all England at first but Cameroon did break through the home side's defence, but trusty Sol Campbell raced back to concede the corner, which amounted to nothing.
England were on the attack again, but they failed to put the final touch on the ball to score. An example of this was when Ince played a lovely ball to Fowler, who then crossed it into the box but it was just too far for Scholes to reach to tap it into the net.
Cameroon seemed to pick up their game after 20 minutes or so and although not greatly testing England's defence, did play more attacking football. Their shots were wild though. The first time that Cameroon could have caused trouble was when they nicely threaded through England's defence, but the pass was just too far for the visitor's attack to result in a shot on goal. The African's were beginning to get into the game.
Southgate left the pitch injured in the 39th minute after jumping for the ball in the box. Later it was revealed that he has strained ankle ligaments. The Aston Villa player's departure paved the way for 18 year old Rio Ferdinand, cousin of England and Tottenham Hotspur player, to make his debut.
At the end of the first half Gascoigne showed some of his magic, weaving through Cameroon's defense. As two defenders closed in on the Glasgow Rangers star, Scholes picked up the ball and chipped the ball into the net. At last England had been able to finish an attack.
England were then fired up and just moments later scored a second. David Beckham, McManaman and Ince combined, with Beckham putting a cross in from the right to a waiting Fowler who headed the ball down and past Ongandzi to take England into the break two goals up.
The second half started with England attacking Cameroon's goal. Nothing came from England's efforts though, no matter how many attempts they had. Nigel Martyn had little to do during the second period until Njitap, a substitute for Mboma, tried his luck. Despite increasing their attacks in the latter stages of the match, Cameroon left Wembley without scoring, and England failed to capitalise on their two goal lead from the first half.
There is no doubt that Hoddle is pleased with Scholes' performance in this game and the United youngster in general. In an interview after the game he said, "It was a superb finish wasn't it? I'm delighted for the lad because I brought
him in. I remember thinking I wanted to bring him in a lot earlier but he wasn't really playing regularly for United. We could see the talent that he's got. He's a fantastic goal-scoring record. He's proving now that he can score in the national level but he can play in 3 or 4 different positions as well within a system. And whatever the system or position he is playing in, he can still pop up with a goal so that is a major asset to any manager. He won man of the match and felt embarrassed picking up the award and that's the sort of lad he is. He's got a very, very bright future."
Martyn, Campbell, P Neville, Ince, Southgate (R Ferdinand 38 mins), Hinchcliffe, Beckham, Gascoigne (R Lee 73 mins), Fowler, Scholes (Sutton 79 mins), McManaman.
Subs Not Used: Seaman, Batty, Butt, Andy Cole.
Ongandzi, Song, Wome, Mimboe, Kalla, Job, Mboma (Njitap 75 mins), Etchi, Etame (Olembe 73 mins), Foe, Ipoua (Billong 46 mins).
Subs Not Used: Mangan, Mettomo, Njeukam, Zoalang.
England Scorers: Scholes 45 mins, Fowler 45 mins
Cameroon Cautions: Ipoua, Foe
Referee: Terje Hauge (Norway)