The Under-20 World Cup final: Ghana’s sharp shooters look to outgun stingy Brazil

Ghana v Brazil, Under-20 World Cup final, October 16, 2009

Ghana 11/4; Draw 23/10; Brazil 4/5

It is fitting and encouraging that the two best attacking teams in the Under-20 World Cup have reached the showpiece final and, with some promising forward players on show, we could be in store for a cracking denouement to the tournament.

Ghana could well be the favourites to win the trophy on Friday night, such has been the verve and explosiveness of their attacking play. They are the top goal scorers in the competition with 16 goals in six games and have a bunch of forward players who will be in demand once the tournament is completed.

Dominic Adiyiah has made a real name for himself in Egypt. The 19-year-old striker, who plays his club football for Fredrisktad in Norway, has scored eight goals so far and looks set to follow in the footsteps of Sergio Aguero who was top goal-scorer in the last edition of this competition. Alongside Adiyiah, Ransford Osei, who is currently on loan at Steve McClaren’s FC Twente, has also impressed, scoring five goals.

But it isn’t just about the strikers though for the Black Satellites. Midfielder Emmanuel Agyemang Badu has reportedly interested Juventus after his powerful showings at the tournament and it can only be a matter of time before he is labelled “the new Michael Essien.”

Despite Ghana’s undoubted attacking qualities and powerful all round game, the defence has not looked the most secure throughout the tournament and at times they have dominated games but still struggled to kill teams off. They have only kept one clean sheet so far (against England in the group stages) and nervelessly won both the quarter-final (against South Korea) and semi-final (versus Hungary) 3-2.

It will of course come as no surprise that Brazil are also packed with some fine forward players. In general the attacking players have shared the goals around. Alan Kardec popped up with the winner in the semi-final win against Costa Rica whilst Maicon was the hero in the quarter final victory over Germany with a brace.

Vasco da Gama winger Alex Teixera has also impressed, he scored two against Uruguay and is reportedly being watched by Manchester United and Chelsea. Such has been the overall quality throughout the side that Douglas “the new Ronaldinho” Costa, who was set for a move to Old Trafford last summer, has barely played.

Much like Dunga’s senior team, this Brazil side have a strong defence which means if the strikers don’t perform there is a base to build upon. The Selecao have conceded just three goals in the tournament and the Ghanaians will have a tough time breaking through the Brazilian backline.

Both sides will be at full strength due to a tournament rule that single yellow cards were wiped clean before the semi-finals and with 30 goals scored between these two teams in 12 games it is probably worth staking some money on there being goals in the match.

The real question is whether Ghana can defend like champions and with Brazil’s immense experience of winning trophies at this level, expect to see the next set of Samba stars parading the trophy in Cairo on Friday night.

101gg predicts: Ghana 2 – Brazil 3 (25/1)

Ghana 11/4; Draw 23/10; Brazil 4/5

Full match odds here.