You are here: HomeSports2013 07 10Article 279112

Soccer News of Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Source: FIFA

A semi-final with a vengeful twist

France - Ghana, Bursa, Wednesday 10 July, 18:00 (local time)
After meeting in the 'Group of Death' curtain raiser at the FIFA U-20 World Cup Turkey 2013, France and Ghana will renew their rivalry in the semi-finals. Having come off worse in that initial fixture, the Africans' pursuit of revenge will be a compelling subplot to the encounter as they look to lift the title for a second time. However, the possibility of reaching a first final at this level will be all the motivation France need.

The Match of the Day

The Bursa Ataturk Stadium will provide the stage for the heavyweight bout between two teams whose fortunes have followed very different paths since their opening game. After finishing as group runners-up, France steamrollered their way into the last four with a barrage of goals, following up a 4-1 triumph over hosts Turkey with a 4-0 rout of Uzbekistan in the quarter-finals.

By contrast, Ghana were the last side to reach the knockout stages and only scraped through as one of the best third-placed finishers. After defeating Portugal 3-2, a thrilling 4-3 triumph over Chile ensued, with the winning goal coming with virtually the last kick of the game in extra time. However, the Black Satellites have paid a high price for their taxing route to the last four, with three key players already ruled out: defenders Joseph Attamah and Lawrence Lartey, as well as midfield schemer Moses Odjer.

France's 3-1 win earlier in the tournament was only the second fixture between the two in the competition's history. The inaugural meeting was a goalless draw in the group stage at Argentina 2001, where Ghana went on to earn a runners-up medal.

The Number

13 - The amount of goals France have scored on their way to the last four at Turkey 2013, one more than Ghana. The pair are not only the highest-scoring sides in the tournament, but also the most trigger-happy: the Africans have fired 114 efforts goalwards, while their French counterparts have had 86 attempts. Yet the biggest statistical difference between the two is at the other end of the pitch. Les Bleuets have only let in five goals so far, compared to Ghana's ten, the most of any remaining nation.

The Player to watch

Yaya Sanogo

As France's leading scorer with four goals, striker Yaya Sanogo will spearhead his country's charge to reach their first ever FIFA U-20 World Cup final. Having found the net against every opponent so far except Spain, Ghana will need to keep a close eye on the new Arsenal front man.

The Words

"The more we've played together as a team, the better we've been. That's very important because we're going up against a strong Ghana side in the semi-finals," France striker Jean-Christophe Bahebeck.

"If we start believing we can allow ourselves to fall behind again, we'd be completely wrong. We've used up all our luck. There's no way we can keep on conceding goals and let our opponents take the lead. We can win the World Cup, but things have to change in terms of letting in goals," Ghana forward Ebenezer Assifuah.