The 2009 champions start their journey for a second world trophy in a tough opener against France
Coach Sellas Tetteh - the man who masterminded the Black Satellites’ famous triumph in Egypt some four years ago - has called up a well-rounded squad, consisting of an ideal blend of highly-rated foreign-based players and a fine pool of equally able youngsters from the local league.
Ghana, however, would have to do without the services of Daniel Pappoe, the centre-back who features for the reserves of England’s Chelsea FC, and Tetteh would be hoping the 19-year-old's last minute replacement, Israel-based Baba Mensah, would offer just as much in quality. That notwithstanding, Ghana do boast a side with sufficient depth from defence, through midfield, to attack, and would look to draw from its well-stocked arsenal to undo the opposition on the day.
It isn't as though the French are any less competent, however. Losing semi-finalists from the European U19 Championships in 2012, Pierre Mankowski's France represent one of the tournament's stronger sides, anchored in midfield by the influential Paul Pogba (who doubles as captain) and spearheaded upfront by Yaya Sanogo, the former who played a key role in Juventus' latest Scudetto-winning squad and the latter having almost sealed a move to Arsenal this summer.
Either side would, of course, be seeking the best possible start to life in what has been quite aptly tagged the tournament’s 'group of death', in anticipation of tough encounters versus Spain and the USA. With hungry youngsters, major footballing nations with credentials to defend, and talent aplenty on show, there could hardly be ingredients more worthy for a mouthwatering opening game and a great exhibition of youth football.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
Ghana are three-time finalists at the Fifa U20 World Cup, winning the prize on the most recent of those occasions in 2009.
By virtue of that sole conquest, Ghana became Africa's first global victors at U20 level.
Neither side triumphed at the continental championships but did just enough to qualify for the global event.
Ghana and France met at this level of international football at Argentina 2001 and played out a goalless draw, eventually reaching the final and quarter-final respectively.
David Trezeguet is the all-time leading scorer for France's U20s with a dozen goals.
- France have never been crowned champions at world U20 level, with their best display yet -a semi-final finish- coming in 2011 when Colombia hosted the tournament.