Embolo’s goal was enough to separate the two teams in a tightly fought contest at Al Janoub Stadium.
Switzerland continued their record of not losing a World Cup opening game in their past five appearances on football’s biggest stage as they edged past a lively Cameroon side in their Group G game.
Cameroon-born forward Breel Embolo scored the winning goal for Switzerland in the first half after winger Xherdan Shaqiri slid a perfect ball across the box.
Embolo, 25, was born in Cameroon’s capital, Yaoundé, but moved to Switzerland with his family and received Swiss citizenship shortly after his 18th birthday.
After scoring Embolo raised his hands in an apologetic manner as teammates celebrated around him. He pointed toward Swiss fans behind the goal where he had scored, then to Cameroon fans at the opposite corner of Al Janoub stadium.
Cameroon were the better side in the opening half and might have had the lead as Karl Toko Ekambi, Eric-Maxim Choupo-Moting and Martin Hongla all missed good chances against a lacklustre Switzerland side that battled to get out of first gear.
But the Swiss were much improved in the second period and took the lead through Embolo’s well-worked goal. Ruben Vargas had an excellent chance to score a second but was thwarted by goalkeeper Andre Onana, even as Cameroon ran out of steam.