Ghana and France contest a second time at Turkey 2013, this time in a fixture that determines who joins one of Uruguay and Iraq in the final of the U20 World Cup
Since the tournament’s opening fixture that saw France’s Les Bleuetes beat Ghana’s Black Satellites 3-1, both sides have gone through plenty, placing second and third respectively in Group A, and negotiating passage through the first two knock-out rounds albeit with contrasting degrees of ease. While France swatted the host team and Uzbekistan respectively in the round of 16 and quarter-finals by an aggregate score of 8-1, Ghana laboured past bookies' favourites Portugal and Chile via 3-2 and 4-3 results, snatching last-gasp victories on both occasions.
Ghana and France have scored 12 and 13 times respectively already, with seven and eight players on either side getting the goals. Of the lot, Ebenezer Assifuah (Ghana) and Yaya Sanogo (France) have four apiece, just a goal shy of the tournament-leading tally held jointly by Spain’s Jese and Portugal’s Bruma, neither of whom would have any further opportunities to add to their tallies with their sides having been long eliminated.
Ghana’s defensive record, however, is twice as bad France's, conceding 10 times juxtaposed to Pierre Mankowski’s side's five in five games. Surely, then, this is set to be a game characterised by fine attacking play, with errors at the rear likely to be punished.
Personnel-wise, Ghana are worse off, with suspensions ensuring the 2009 winners would have to do without youngster Moses Odjer in midfield, as well as the fairly impressive pair of centre-backs, Lawerh Attamah and Lawrence Lartey. In place of the former, either of Michael Anaba and Kennedy Ashia - both of whom have been among the goals for Ghana - could earn a start, while the defensive duo would almost certainly be replaced by Princebell Addico and late call-up Baba Mensah. Coach Sellas Tetteh would hope the substitutes slot in seamlessly and contribute their bits to serving up a memorable game between two teams who have matured significantly as the tournament has progressed.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
Victory for France in Wednesday’s game would see them make the final of the U20 World Cup for the very first time, having reached the semi-finals itself only once prior.
Ghana, on the other hand, already have a quintet of last-four appearances under their belt, and would be seeking to compete in a fourth final.
Ghana have played six times at the Fifa U20 World Cup, against five for France.
Ghana coach Tetteh is in the hunt to claim two world titles in as many attempts.
Ghana are the only one of the best four third-placed teams qualified from the group stages to have remained till this point.
- Of the countries from Europe and Africa which featured at the tournament, France and Ghana are the only sides still representing either continent.