Cameroon's Djoum sets sights on 'big player' Draxler

Julian Draxler and Germany will pose a stern test for Cameroon, but midfielder Arnaud Djoum is hoping for "the surprise of this tournament".

Draxler has been granted ample license to roam during Die Mannschaft's opening two games and scored in the game against Australia.   -  Bongarts

Tough-tackling Cameroon midfielder Arnaud Djoum is relishing pitting his wits against Germany star Julian Draxler when the sides meet in the Confederations Cup on Sunday.

Hugo Broos' African champions lost their opening match 2-0 to Chile before playing out a 1-1 draw against Australia, meaning they must beat the world champion to retain any chance of progressing to the semi-finals.

It is a tall order, although Joachim Low naming a talented but experimental squad, with many of Germany's star names left at home, provides some grounds for optimism.

Paris Saint-Germain winger Draxler has been granted ample license to roam during Die Mannschaft's opening two games, scoring from the penalty spot as Australia were beaten 3-2, which is likely to bring him into direct competition with Djoum – a battle the Hearts man welcomes.

"A player like Draxler is a big player and I know he will be around me," he said at the Cameroon team's hotel in Sochi. "It is always good to face a player like that. Even against Chile, when you play against [Arturo] Vidal, these kind of players, it is always nice and it's why you play football."

"You want to play against the biggest players possible and to go to the highest level as possible. I'm really happy and I just enjoy it, and I'm looking forward to this game on Sunday. They are all big players, stars. It is not the same team who won the World Cup, so it is something different and that's why we have more hope that we can cause the surprise of this tournament."

"Nobody expects us to win this game so we have nothing to lose, so we will do everything to make this surprise."

Rubbing shoulders with the likes of Draxler is nothing new for the 28-year-old Djoum, who began his international career in the Belgium youth ranks, alongside a prodigious Eden Hazard.

Even at that tender age, he had few doubts the Chelsea star was destined for the upper echelons of the sport. "The first thing when you see him is you can directly see he has something special," he said. "Good potential, good abilities on the pitch, even in training. So that is why the coach took him too us, even though he was two years younger than us he was with us. You could see that he had something."

Djoum's performances at Hearts, where he is contracted until 2019, have seen him linked to European clubs including Bordeaux over recent months.

His 11 tackles are the most made by any player over the first two matches at the Confederations Cup and, with more almost certainly necessary against Germany, he credits his time at Tynecastle for bringing on those qualities.

"Maybe it is because I am playing in Scotland. In Scotland, it is really physical with tough tackles so I try to do that," he added. "I try to help my team to win a lot of ball in midfield. It's an important part of my game."

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