Soccer News of 2014-08-12

Make or break for Princesses today

Ghana’s Under-20 female football team have to work out a magic that will see them beat Finland today and progress to the quarter-finals of the ongoing Under-20 Women’s World Cup in Canada, else they have to start packing to return home.

The calculations have already begun on what the Ghanaians need to do to win against the Finns, while counting on a favourable result in the other group match between Canada and North Korea.

Last Friday, the Black Princesses made heavy weather of their second Group A match against North Korea, suffering a shocking 0-3 loss which puts them in a tight situation and demands quick recovery against Finland tomorrow to stay in contention.

Third on the log with three points and minus two (-2) goal difference, the Princesses will need not less than a 2-0 win to go past the Canadians, who also now have three points and zero goal difference.

The Princesses, who beat Canada 1-0 in their opening game, have been pushed to third place on the table as Canada had a great 3-2 comeback win against the Finns, and are now on top of the Ghanaians.

Against the Finns tomorrow, there will be no time to waste for Bashiru Hayford’s side, who must apply the coup de grâce against a side who are without a win after two matches and are also ruing a costly slip against Canada.

Against a rugged North Korean side, the Princesses put up a better performance, particularly in the second half. Ironically, errors from goalkeeper Victoria Agyei, who was voted the best player in the opening game against the host team, proved costly.

Coach Hayford, who looked on helplessly as his ladies were badly exposed in defence, admitted they were in a tight corner and must quickly figure out how to get out of that situation.

“We didn’t play badly against North Korea, but we committed some mistakes which cost us. Now, we have to put that loss behind us, recover quickly and plan how to beat the Finns to keep our dream on course,” he said.

Coach Hayford will have to get his midfield, which appears to be the team’s weakest link, to click to fire up the attack. Perhaps, he must also re-consider playing just a striker on top, as that role, so far played by Sherifatu Sumaila, has not been productive.

At the rear, the Princesses coach must get his defenders to communicate, know when to move and when to stay in line, particularly goalkeeper Agyei, whose feeling of not being protected compelled her to get off her line and which resulted in goals.

Against Canada, the Finns displayed a strong work ethic in the first half and were unrelenting in the second half, but not a very strong defence. The Princesses must use their experience to exploit that to get more goals in the second half.

Anything short of scoring more goals will effectively end a quarter-final berth dream.

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