Ghana’s Black Princesses’ dream of making it past the group stage for the first time faces another stern test today when they play The Netherlands in their second Group A game at the Stade de la Rabine in Vannes when second group matches get underway at the ongoing FIFA Under-20 Women’s World Cup in France.
Last Sunday, the Princesses’ ambitions received a huge jolt when they lost 1-4 to hosts France in the opening game in Vannes, but today the Ghanaian women will have to go all out for a win against the Dutch if they are to revive their campaign.
Ghana’s preparation towards the France tournament was not the best, but the Princesses have no other choice than to give of their best to save their campaign.
It is going to be a Herculean task for the Ghanaians given that the Dutch, first-timers at this competition, could be among the first to advance to the quarter-finals if they win this game, while any other result would put them on hold until the final match.
They were not outstanding in the opening game, but they did what was required of them, picking all three points against New Zealand, while the Ghanaians struggled to hold their own against a vintage French side.
This is the first time Ghana and The Netherlands will be meeting in women’s football and at this level and the stakes are really high.
For the Princesses, it will be important to have a better defence than was lined up against France, and ensure that they cover space instead of players, to avoid conceding the kind of goals they did in the opening game.
Coach Yussif Basigi could take the risk of changing the defence, particularly, the fullbacks and change roles of those he decides to start at the rear.
If Ernestina Abambilla is also given a starting role, she must be made to work harder to support Grace Acheampong to keep the midfield stronger as she was not herself last Sunday.
Forward Sandra Owusu-Ansah proved that given the opportunity and space, she can deliver the goals and so the strategy to be deployed must be one that will get her more in the final third with the ball so she can try out the chances.
It is a very dicey situation as any result apart from a win means, the dream will be effectively over for the Princesses.
In the other Group A game, it looks like France will pick the first quarter-final ticket as they face New Zealand in an early game.
Two years ago when the two sides met in a similar encounter, the French won 2-0 and with their impressive form and determination to ‘host and win’, Le Bluettes could just add to the woes of the New Zealanders who need a good result to save their campaign after being beaten 2-1 by The Netherlands in their opening game.
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