After three exciting weeks of action in Egypt, the 2009 FIFA U-20 World Cup culminates tomorrow in Cairo with what should be an exciting final between four-time champions Brazil and Ghana.
Brazil, who’s making their seventh appearance in the U-20 World Cup final, booked their spot in the final with a 1-0 win over surprise semifinalist Costa Rica, with the difference being Alan Kardec‘s brilliant 67th minute volley.
You can watch Brazil v Ghana live online here.
Brazil will be looking to take home the title for the fifth time and for the first time since 2003, when they defeated Spain 1-0.
One of those four previous triumphs came over Ghana, in Australia in 1993. In that final in Sydney, Ghana took a 1-0 lead after a quarter of an hour, but Brazil equalized five minutes after the restart and sealed what was their third title with the winning strike two minutes before the end of normal time.
Ghana’s other final appearance also came against a South American power, as they lost the 2001 final 3-0 to host Argentina.
It’ll be a fitting victory if Ghana can lift the trophy at Cairo International Stadium. Not only would it be their maiden title, but it’d also be the first time that an African nation won the competition, with Ghana and Nigeria (1989 and 2005) having come out on the losing end twice before.
You can expect to see at least a few goals in tomorrow’s final in Cairo, given that the finalists have found the net with regularity throughout the competition.
Ghana have scored a competition-leading 16 goals in six matches, and exactly half of those goals have come from striker and runaway Golden Shoe leader Dominic Adiyiah. He’s been a monster in the knockout rounds, scoring an extra-time winner against in the round of 16 against South Africa, netting a brace in a 3-2 quarterfinal win over South Korea, and repeating the feat inside 31 minutes to put Ghana up 2-0 in their 3-2 win over Hungary in the semis.
It’s safe to say that Brazil must contain he and strike partner Ransford Osei, who’s scored four goals. The other prime threat for Ghana is team captain and attacker Andre Ayew (two goals), the son of former Marseille star and Ghanaian legend Abedi Pele.
While those three have accounted for the majority of Ghana’s production, Brazil’s 14 goals are spread out among eight scorers. Kardec, their match-winner in the semis against Costa Rica, is their leading scorer with four goals, and as shown by that winning strike in the semis, he can do wonders with the slightest bit of space.
It’s worth mentioning that 11 of Ghana’s goals have come on the other side of halftime, and both Brazil and Ghana have come from behind to win twice, so don’t count out either if they start slowly.
Tomorrow’s final will be preceded by the third-place showdown between Hungary and Costa Rica at 17:00 local time.