THE DAY REPLAYED - Ghana and Brazil booked their places in the final of the FIFA U-20 World Cup after narrow vicftories over Hungary and Costa Rica respectively at Cairo's International Stadium.
With three players including influential captain Vladimir Koman suspended and Krisztian Nemeth suffering from sickness and forced to withdraw during half time, it was always going to be an uphill battle for Hungary and so it proved. Dominic Adiyiah netted his seventh and eight goals of the tournament to give Ghana a 2-0 lead and although the Europeans reduced the deficit twice through Marco Futacs and Adam Balajti, Abeiku Quansah's goal was worthy of being the matchwinner.
Meanwhile, Alan Kardec scored his fourth goal of the tournament and his third against Costa Rica as A Seleção squeezed past Los Ticos in the day's second game. The Brazilian No9, named after the 19th Century French teacher of Spiritism, ghosted in at the far post to volley home Bertucci's left wing cross.
The results ensure a rematch of the 1993 final, which Brazil won 2-1 in Sydney, thanks to goals from Yan and Gian, but Ghana coach Sellas Tetteh has already declared that he perceives his side to be ‘hot favourites' for the game. Hungary and Costa Rica, meanwhile, meet in the earlier game on Friday afternoon as they battle it out for bronze.
Ghana 3-2 Hungary
Brazil 1-0 Costa Rica
*Click on the links on the right for reports and reaction on both of these games.
Goal of the day
Ghana 3-2 Hungary, Abeiku Quansah 81
With the Black Satellites leading 2-1 and time ticking away, Hungary were searching for an equaliser and consequently leaving gaps at the back. They were exploited superbly by Ghana in a wonderful move, capped by a finish of the highest order. Adiyiah picked up the ball and ran at the Magyar defence, before passing it to Opoku Agyemang who in turn played it first time to Quansah on the right hand side of the box. The Nice midfielder took one touch to control the ball, a second to tee himself up before unleashing a right footed piledriver from 12 yards which crashed off the underside of the bar, before bouncing over the line.
Super subs: Second half substitutes in the Ghana-Hungary game all played a major part in the three goals scored in the closing 45 minutes. While Futacs and Balajti netted for Hungary, Agyemang, who came on for Ghana skipper Andre Ayew made the assist for Quansah's matchwinner.
The best seat in the house?: The suspended Sandor Egervari was sat in the VIP tribune for today's semi-final in one of the luxurious cinema-style chairs at the Cairo International Stadium. Indeed, the Hungary coach was reacting to the drama as if he was watching a Hollywood blockbuster, but unfortunately for him and his players, the show did not have a happy ending.
Defender of the Faith: As the Hungary players lay dejected on the turf shortly after the final whistle, the Ghanaians gathered, not to celebrate, but to give glory to God for their victory. Led by centre back Daniel Addo, the boys who had been playing were now praying in thanksgiving.
Saving grace: People say that goals win games, and rightly so, but had Rafael not pulled off one of the saves of the tournament in the 15th minute, then the outcome of the match with Costa Rica could have been entirely different. David Guzman's free-kick seemed destined to dip under the bar, before the keeper launched himself to his left at full stretch before tipping the ball over for a corner.
12 - Brazil's victory over Costa Rica means that a country from CONMEBOL will be represented in the final of the FIFA U-20 World Cup for the 12th time in 17 editions of the tournament; a total of 71 per cent. You have to look back to Nigeria 1999 when Japan met Spain for the last time a side from South America failed to feature in the final, while 1983, 1995 and 1997 witnessed all-CONMEBOL encounters.
"First of all congratulations to Ghana; great play, great result, I wish Ghana all the best in the final but I would like to say thank you to all our Hungarian players for the unbelievable efforts in this tournament so far! Guys, you are the best for us and you have the chance to take third place which is fantastic as well! Go go go Hungary! We are with you," Roberto_HUN (Hungary) offers a sporting and supporting comment after his side's loss.
FIFA U-20 World Cup Egypt 2009
Match for third place
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