Ghana win Under-20 World Cup football


Cairo : Ten-man Ghana Friday became the first African country to win the under-20 World Cup after beating four-time champions Brazil 4-3 in a penalty shoot-out in the final here after the game ended in a goalless draw after extra-time.

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Brazilian substitute Maicon, who was the match winner for his side in the quarter-final against Germany, had a golden opportunity to win the match for the South Americans when he could have given his side an unassailable two-goal lead with Brazil’s fifth attempt in the penalty shoot-out, but blasted the ball over the crossbar.

In sudden-death Alex Teixeira saw goalkeeper Daniel Agyei save his penalty, giving Emmanuel Agyemang-Badu the chance to win the game for the West Africans and the striker made no mistake.

A near-capacity crowd in the Cairo International Stadium, including FIFA President Joseph Blatter, saw Ghana being reduced to ten men in the 37th minute when Daniel Addo was rather harshly sent off by Belgian referee Frank De Bleeckere for a foul on Alex Teixeira.

The red card wrecked Ghana coach Sellas Tetteh’s game plan, as he could not afford to throw too many people forward. Instead of their usual attacking game, Ghana then put together a brilliant defensive display to deny the Brazilian forwards a goal.

Both sides came close in extra-time to score, with Teixeira creating the best chance of the game in the 95th minute as he played the ball across the goalmouth.

Brazilian striker Alan Kardec missed the ball, but it came to Maicon, who side-footed from close range, only to see Agyei dive to his right to pull off a world-class save.

Neither side then managed to score as the Ghanaians held onto the draw they were probably aiming for after Addo was sent off and as a result the game had to go into extra time.

Ghana’s success in their third final sees the team become the first country from outside Europe and South America to win the tournament.

In the earlier match Friday, Hungary came back from the brink of defeat to win the play-off for third place, beating Costa Rica 2-0 on penalties after the game ended 1-1 after 90 minutes.

Costa Rica missed all four of their penalties, while Hungary scored twice for a 2-0 win.

The first half was a dull affair, but the match came to life in the final 20 minutes.

After Costa Rica dominated proceedings in the first half, it was Hungary that stamped their authority on the game in the second, with Costa Rica goalkeeper Esteban Alvardo pulling off a number of terrific saves.

Somewhat against the run of play, Marcos Urena opened the scoring in the 81st minute with a well-taken shot from the edge of the penalty area after a fine run through the Hungarian defence.

The Central Americans should have doubled their lead, but Josue Martinez headed wide and the side were made to pay the price in injury time as Jose Mena pulled down substitute Krisztian Nemeth in the area.

Mena was sent off for a second bookable offence, while Vladimir Koman made no mistake from the spot and the game then went straight to penalties, where Hungary kept the upped hand.