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Sports News of Saturday, 4 August 2018

Source: Graphic.com.gh

Princesses ready for France challenge as World Cup kicks off tomorrow

Ghana’s Black Princesses will tomorrow face hosts, France, in the opening game of their Group A campaign as they begin their quest for honours at this year’s FIFA Under-20 Women’s World Cup (WWC) which kicks off in France tomorrow.

The Princesses, making their fifth World Cup appearance, have never gone past the group stage and are hoping to improve upon that record, but must first clear a cagey France hurdle.

Aware of how poor starts in previous opening games had cost them, the Princesses go into this game with the aim of at least securing a point to give them hope they can cling on.

Two years ago in a similar group game, the Princesses drew 2-2 with France, with goals from Sandra Owusu-Ansah and Jane Ayieyam putting them 2-1 ahead, but a late goal from the French denied the Ghanaians of a deserved win.

Though the team to line up today may not be the same as the side that played two years ago, there are a significantly good number of players from that squad on parade in France. And if Coach Yusif Basigi decides to play his experienced players, then this meeting will be a clash of old foes, given that the French also have about 50 per cent of their 2016 squad on duty now.

Comparatively, the French have had better preparations than the Ghanaians, whose preparations were bogged down by a stand off between Ghana government and the Ghana Football Association.

That notwithstanding, the Princesses are determined to hold up their own against a flamboyant French side who will also be buoyed up by the home support and the desire to emulate their big brothers who won the 1998 World Cup when the hosted it.

Typical of opening games, this match certainly is a dicey one for either side, as they are both aware of the threat the other pose to their dreams and aspirations.

This will also be a midfield battle for supremacy with the more creative side set to gain the upper hand. For Ghana, the exploits of Grace Asantewaa and Grace Acheampong in that role will be key and will determine what the forwards will be able to do.

However, most eyes will be on the speedster and creative attacker, Sandra Owusu-Ansah whose exploits almost proved costly for the French the last time they met in Papua New Guinea.