Four teams battle for FIFA U-20 World Cup final

Four teams battle for FIFA U-20 World Cup final

Four teams battle for FIFA U-20 World Cup final

French team’s players seen celebrating following their win at the 2013 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Turkey. The team is now set to face Ghana for the semfinals. AA photo

France faces off Ghana in the semifinal of the 2013 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Turkey, while Iraq will play against Uruguay tonight.

Tournament favorite France and Ghana will play the first semifinal at the Bursa Ataturk Stadium at 6 p.m., before Iraq and Uruguay take the stage at the Trabzon Huseyin Avni Aker Stadium at 9 p.m.

The winner of the two semifinals will battle for the title at the Ali Sami Yen Arena in Istanbul on July 14. The third-place playoff will also be played that day.

Today will not be the first time France and Ghana meet in the tournament. The two teams have played on the opening day of the cup in the Group A, called “Group of Death,” for also including Spain and United States. After pre-tournament contender Spain bowed out with a defeat to Uruguay, France emerged as the favorite team.

That day, France beat Ghana 3-1 but the African side is a better team than it was then.

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 also improved as a team throughout the tournament.

“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 said.

The surprise-package of the tournament, Iraq has already recorded its best ever performance in the competition, surpassing its run to the last eight in 1989.

Such an achievement looked well beyond the Lions of Mesopotamia when it trailed England 2-0 late on in its opening match, a scoreline it turned around to salvage an ultimately vital point.

Out of sorts for 75 minutes against the English, the Iraqis have since shown their ability to perform for both halves and beyond.
Their battling qualities have been coming to the fore in the extra-time defeat of Paraguay in the last 16 and the penalty-shootout win over Korea Republic in the quarter-finals.