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There aren’t many nations that can boast the pedigree of Ghana when it comes to the U-20 World Cup.
Fourth place in 1997, they were twice runners up (in 1993 and 2001) before winning the tournament in 2009 when they beat Brazil on penalties. In an international set-up that isn’t afraid to look to its youth teams to furnish the senior squad there is constant encouragement and motivation for the Black Starlets to make the most of the under-age tournaments.
A first round draw of France and Spain meant that ultimately, Ghana were lucky to qualify as one of the best four third-placed teams.
They have once again been unfortunate in the draw and Portugal represent a monumental hurdle to overcome.
Portugal have been in impressive goal-scoring fettle thus far, putting three past Nigeria in a thriller in Kayseri, scoring two in a tie with South Korea and spanking Cuba 5-0 last Thursday.
In the Guinea-Bissau-born pair of Bruma and Aladje they boast two of the most devastating forwards in the competition. The former, in particular, has been on of the tournament’s most exciting prospects so far.
Whoever qualifies from this contest will doubtless be among the favourites to claim the title. Portugal were worryingly flat in their draw with South Korea, while Ghana may well have learned from their defeats to Spain and France.
Don’t bet against the Black Starlets providing a stern test for Portugal’s menacing forward line.