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Friday, October 16, 2009

Ghana takes on Brazil in U20 WCup final

CAIRO — Ghana will try to become the first African team to win the Under-20 World Cup and stop South America's dominance when it plays Brazil in Friday's final.

Ghana lost title games to Brazil in 1993 and Argentina in 2001. Brazil hopes to win the tournament for the fifth time and move within one title of Argentina's record six.

"We're working hard to make this dream happen and it would be great to be only one behind Argentina," Brazil goalkeeper Rafael said.

With Ghana's senior team qualifying easily for next year's World Cup -- the first African team to advance after host South Africa -- the Black Satellites have made a strong impression of their own in Egypt.

"It will be wonderful for us to leave with the cup on Friday, so that we push the senior national team to South Africa with a lot of promise," Ghana coach Sellas Tetteh said. "One or two players may make it to the senior team. This performance surely will have a great impact with the senior team."

But Ghana must first get past a Brazil team that features a rock-solid defense and spreads the offense. Ghana's defense is weak and the team relies heavily on strikers Dominic Adiyiah and Ransford Osei.

Not only are the Brazilians expected to win, but their fans demand flair -- something clearly lacking during Tuesday's lackluster 1-0 win over Costa Rica. Ghana defeated Hungary 3-2 in a far more entertaining game.

"Of course there is pressure to win," Brazil coach Rogerio Lourenco said. "Anyone who coaches in Brazil knows this."

Brazil last won the tournament in 2003, and a victory will make it five straight tournament wins for South American teams. That guarantees a decade of total success, with Argentina taking the last two titles and three of the last four. Spain is the only team from outside South America to win since 1993, clinching the title in 1999.

Ghana captain Andre Ayew, who twisted his ankle against Hungary, insists it's not enough to reach the final.

"We want this cup and we'll give everything to get it," Ayew said. "They're proud of us because we are representing the country and we are lifting the flag high. But if we don't win the cup I don't think we'll be satisfied."

Brazil has conceded only three goals and has a far more reliable goalkeeper in Rafael. Ghana has conceded eight goals, including four in its last two games.

Adiyiah and Osei, however, helped compensate for some erratic defense. They have 12 of the team's 16 goals -- Adiyiah a tournament-leading eight and Osei four.

Before the final, Hungary and Costa Rica will play for third place. Playmaker Vladimir Koman returns to Hungary's lineup after his suspension for the semifinals.

"The Hungarians are very tough and have shown their ability during this tournament," Costa Rica coach Ronald Gonzalez said.

Jerome Pugmire, AP Sports Writer

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