Ghana, Brazil tipped to win semis
Posted: 13 October 2009 Time: 9:22 am
Today is semifinal time at the Fifa Under-20 World Cup in Egypt and the opening last-four encounter brings together an adventurous Ghana side and their disciplined opponents from Hungary at the Cairo International Stadium.
While many continental fans favour Ghana to meet Brazil in the Final, it is no easy task to pick a favourite from two teams in this semifinal as both teams boast diametrically opposed styles. African champions Ghana have been seducing Egyptian crowds for the past two weeks with their constant hunger to get forward, and with six-goal top scorer Dominic Adiyiah in their ranks, not to mention Ransford Osei and Andre Ayew, it is easy to understand why. That approach has made for entertainment at both ends of the pitch, in fact, with Ghana having conceded six goals in five outings. As for Hungary, their strengths so far have been rigour and discipline, although it would be a mistake to believe that Sandor Egervari's troops are obsessed with the defensive arts. The coach is set to watch this match from the stands, but once again he will have instructed his players to win possession of the ball as quickly as possible and create chances for talented forward Krisztian Nemeth. More worryingly, fatigue could yet prove a factor after the Magyars were taken to penalties by the Czech Republic in the Round of 16, winning 4-3 after a 2-2 draw, and contested another 120 minutes before downing Italy 3-2 in the quarterfinals. They will also be deprived the services of midfield organiser Vladimir Koman. Sixteen days after their opening match-up in Group E, Brazil and Costa Rica are once again set to lock horns in the second semifinal today. This time, however, the stakes are much higher, with the winner earning a place in the final while the loser will contest the match for third place. Although the Seleção strolled to a 5-0 win on 27 September in Port Said, this time they will face Costa Rica at Cairo International Stadium, the scene of two epic Tico victories in the previous knockout rounds. Brazil were in clinical form in the teams’ group-stage encounter in Port Said, but the 5-0 scoreline somewhat flattered them. Costa Rica created several goal scoring opportunities but ultimately paid a high price for taking on Brazil toe-to-toe, as well as some wayward finishing. But Roland Gonzalez’s charges showed their mettle by going on to knock out hosts Egypt and then UAE, with almost the entire crowd against them on both occasions. Still, even if Los Ticos can correct the mistakes from that opening defeat, it still may not be enough. The South Americans have shown their ability to come out on top in many different situations, and always seem capable of providing something special when it counts. All in all, today’s rematch is set to be worlds apart from the pair’s group-stage clash a fortnight ago - what remains to be seen is who will have the final word.