Ivica Olic’s close-range finish gave Croatia the lead against the run of play in the 10th minute, after the Indomitable Lions
had sparkled in the opening exchanges
A thunderous run and strike from Ivan Perisic doubled Croatia’s advantage shortly after the break, before Mandzukic marked his return from suspension with two goals in quick succession.
There had been encouraging signs for Cameroon from kick-off, as they launched a series of attacks down the right. It took them 91 seconds to register a shot against Mexico in their 1-0 defeat in the opening game, but at the Amazonia Arena that statistic was put to bed.
Less than 30 seconds had passed when Benjamin Moukandjo fashioned their first chance, firing into the side-netting from an acute angle.
Volker Finke’s side continued to push and probe, with Vincent Aboubakar, starting in place of the injured Samuel Eto’o, causing particular havoc with his pace and trickery.
Then, against the run of play, Croatia took the lead.
A dangerous cross from Darijo Srna from the right fell straight to Perisic on the edge of the box and he dissected the Cameroon defence with a perfect pass to the back post, where Olic was on hand to thump home.
Photos: Cameroon 0-4 Croatia! Alex Song Redcarded, Assou-Ekotto headbutts Team Mate Benjamin Moukandjo As Cameroon Become the First African Team to Crash out of The 2014 World Cup!
It was Olic’s second World Cup goal, more than a decade after his first, which came in a 2-1 victory over Italy in the 2002 group stages.
Croatia’s opening goal against Brazil was created on the wing and it was out wide that Niko Kovac’s side looked to test Cameroon.
Srna and Perisic continued to combine well down Croatia’s right, with Tottenham left-back Benoit Assou-Ekotto struggling to deal with the dual threat they posed.
Eto’o could only gesture wildly from the bench as his team-mates lost their footing in the game as the half wore on – and their problems were compounded in the 40th minute when Song was dismissed.
Referee Pedro Proenca reached straight for red after Song wildly lashed out at Mandzukic with his arm as Croatia tried to counter down the left-hand side.
Song bowed his head as he trudged from the pitch in Manaus, four years after his spat with Eto’o had split the Cameroon camp. Cameroon lost all three of their games at that tournament, and look to be heading for a similar conclusion in Brazil.