Live Commentary: France 3-1 Ghana - as it happened

Geoffrey Kondogbia
© PA Photos
Live text commentary from Group A of the Under-20 World Cup as France took on Ghana and won 3-1.

France took on Ghana in the opening match of Group A at the Under-20 World Cup and were too good for the 2009 champions.

The first half had a number of chances, but neither side was able to break the deadlock with some poor finishing on display.

However, France controlled the second half and scored three times through each of their attacking trio, Geoffrey Kondogbia, Yaya Sanogo and Jean-Christophe Bahebeck.

Ghana scored a late consolation goal through Richmond Boakye, but it was too little too late for the African side as France took the points.

Read how the action unfolded with our live text commentary below.


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3.32pmHello all and thanks for joining me today for this clash between France and Ghana in Group A of the Under-20 World Cup.

3.34pmSo with the U21 Euros now over, we're straight into another youth international tournament, and this time we will be watching talent from all over the world. Turkey host it and we open with the 2009 champions Ghana, who face the tricky France.

3.36pmPremier League interest today will include Yaya Sanago, who is about to sign for Arsenal, and the former Manchester United man Paul Pogba. Both should be playing for France, but I'll have confirmation of that with the team news shortly.

3.39pmIndeed both players start for France - team news coming right up.

3.41pmFRANCE XI: Areola; Foulquier, Sarr, Umtiti, Digne; Pogba, Veretout, Kondogbia; Thauvin; Sanogo, Bahebeck

3.44pmGHANA XI: Antwi; Nketia, Lartey, Attamah, Ofori; Duncan, Odjer, Anaba; Acheampong, Narh, Assifuah

3.48pmSo Pierre Mankowski will be resting a lot of his hopes on Juventus's Pogba and (almost) Arsenal's Sanogo. Expect the former to demand the ball all game long and Sanogo to cause problems with his strength and pace. The striker has been used somewhat sparingly by Auxerre since making his debut in 2010, but his 10 goals in 19 league games suggest a hint of his potential.

3.52pmFor Ghana, Sellas Tetteh has to make do without Daniel Pappoe of Chelsea. Baba Mensah has replaced him in the squad, but does not make the XI. Lawrence Lartey, the skipper, and Joseph Attamah are preferred at centre-back.

3.56pmGhana have a good mix of foreign- and domestic-based players. It will be those who play their football in the nation who will be the ones France will be most uncertain about. Certainly, with three finals behind them Ghana are excellent at this level.

3.58pmThat said, France are the big favourites today. You can back them at slightly worse than evens, while in some bookmakers Ghana are as far back as 4/1. For me personally, it's going to be close and I even think a draw could come into play. 13/5 is about the best you'll get for that.

3.59pmFrance have a considerable height advantage, as well, which could play a part. The anthems are done and we're nearly set for kickoff.

0 minKICKOFF: Ghana, in white, get us underway today.

2 minCHANCE: France look to drive forward at pace early on, but a slightly heavy touch from Florian Thauvin allows Attamah in. At the other end Ghana should be ahead - Anaba looks like he will get on the end of a cross but fails to make contact!

4 minIt's Ghana really who are on top of this at the moment. Still just that early chance, but they're starting to pin France back and Areola has had to make a couple of claims early on.

6 minAcheampong gets his first run at Foulquier for the first time and gets the better of his full-back. However, he chooses the wrong option with his pass. The ball comes to Duncan, who drills left-footed from range and it's not too far over the bar.

8 minThere's the first hint of Pogba's passing range as he angles left-footed to Luca Digne on the left. Eventually the ball is worked into the box and there's a half-chance for Sanogo, whose shot is over the bar on the bounce.

10 minThe game has settled after quite a frantic start, with France now playing the game at their pace. Pogba, as expected, is looking to dictate the tempo just in front of the back four but he's not had a huge say thus far.

12 minAnother touch for Areola as Narh tries to get on to a through ball, but it was too far in front of him. Ghana though are seeing more of the ball again - lots of movement between the lines from them, which is good to see.

14 minGhana win the first corner of the match. It's crossed deep towards Assifuah, but it's headed away before he gets the chance to volley. Ghana keep the ball on the left and Ofori's cross is deflected for another corner.

16 minThauvin nips in after a misplaced long ball from Nketia, but again a heavy touch sees him lose the ball. France come again through Sanogo, but he's selfish from 25 yards and drags a shot well wide.

18 minCHANCE! Really good strength from Pogba, who brushed off Acheampong. The Juve man finds Thauvin cutting in from the right, and the winger slices his effort wide when he really should have tested Antwi, if not scored. Best chance of the game so far.

20 minMorale-boosting challenge there from the Ghanaian skipper Lartey. Ghana come forward from it but Acheampong gives away a free kick as he had an arm full of Foulquier.

22 minPogba lines up a free kick about 25 yards out but it has no power and even less accuracy - into the stands. Definitely not his best effort. This spraying the 10 yards for the wall is a great idea - Ghana didn't move an inch from it.

24 minMinor appeals for a penalty as Bahebeck tried to shoot from a Digne long throw, but his boot was up anyway so he had very little claim. Assifuah gets the ball drilled to him at the other end, but his control sends the ball straight back to the men in blue. He's not been in this as yet.

26 minNarh, on the left, cuts across the field nicely to keep the ball for Ghana. They're passing really well, but have lacked the creativity to really get in behind so far. France break through Thauvin and Bahebeck but nothing comes from it.

28 minNarh is fouled by Pogba as he burst forward looking to break and the France man is really fortunate to escape a booking - it was cynical. Incredibly Odjer shoots from 40-odd yards and as you can imagine it's still on the way up.

30 minA really poor - and lazy - pass from Thauvin there as he flicked it to no-one with the outside of his boot. He has not had the best of halves so far and is looking a little frustrated at the moment.

32 minCHANCE! Excellent work from Sanogo there, who was just too strong for Attamah. Then France pass it around beautifully, with Kondogbia getting in behind from the left, but Antwi gets down to make a fine save. Attamah clears the resultant cross with an overhead kick. Good spell for France.

34 minA little less convincing there for Antwi. Thauvin cuts on to his left from outside the box and the goalkeeper just about punches it behind. He could perhaps have held it, but it didn't go in, which is the main thing. At the other end Areola saves from Assifuah, but the striker was offside.

36 minBOOKING: France are ending the half the stronger side. Ofori is really quick to close down the dangerous Digne, good defending. Pogba does finally go into the book for cutting short another break.

38 minHalf - or quarter - chance there for Ghana. Odjer controls a fizzed pass to his feet and turns in the same movement. It means he has space in front of him to shoot, but his effort goes a long way wide.

41 minIt's just become a bit scrappy in the last few minutes. Passes are going astray at both ends, particularly for France as Veretout and Pogba get in a mess attempting a one-two.

43 minOdjer has really put himself about this half, and he wins another free kick simply by getting his body between ball and man. No further chances since the Kondogbia effort, but Pogba tries to slide in Thauvin who had stopped running to the frustration of the France skipper.

45 minThere will be one minute of added time, as Thauvin tries to weave his way through but is crowded out by Nketia and Attamah.

45+1 minHALF-TIME: France 0-0 Ghana

4.49pmWell, it's goalless but that really does not tell the whole story. There could have been goals for both sides and there has been a lot of crisp passing. Just a lack of a clinical edge in front of goal.

4.53pmThe best chance by far fell to Thauvin mid-way through the half. He was through just to the right side of the box, but got stuck as to whether to curl it or drill it and in the end toe-poked it wide of the target.

4.57pmGhana have seen nearly as much of the ball as France, but haven't had close to the amount of chances. Very early on Anaba had a chance with a header, but he didn't make contact. Other than that they've just lacked the creativity in and around the France box.

5.01pmThe players are making their way back out and we're nearly set for the second half. Let's hope for some goals, which is all the match is missing.

45 minKICKOFF: France get us underway for the second half. Have they put their finishing boots on for this period?

46 minSanogo has not linked the play all too well today. He gets an early chance to cushion a pass out left but mishits it. That said, he drives down the left and finds Bahebeck, but the PSG man runs out of ideas and loses the ball.

48 minReally good play on the left from Digne. He loves to get forward and controls the ball on his chest, before cutting a low cross to Sanogo, but the striker's shot is deflected for a corner, from which nothing comes. France have started the second half far stronger here.

50 minCHANCE! Really good chance there for Thauvin. Pogba finds him on the left of the box just onside, but instead of slotting it in he tries to drill it to the near post and it's saved. From the corner Sanogo hits the post and it rolls across the line before being cleared.

52 minBetter work from Bahebeck, who tries to turn his man inside out before his cross is eventually cleared. It's becoming a little last-ditch form Ghana now and France are looking likely to score soon.

54 minHalf-chance for Ghana. Assifuah drives down the right and cuts back to Narh on the edge of the box. It's bobbling a bit and Narh decides to shoot first time and it goes well over.

56 minNot much goalmouth action since the first five minutes of this half. Ghana have come into it a little more but France are still looking most dangerous.

58 minEither Narh or Assifuah are dropping into midfield now when Ghana are not on the ball. Sarr gives away a poor free kick when he fouls Narh on the Ghana left...

60 minIt's a really good delivery and Assifuah is arriving at the far post but there's enough pressure from Digne to stop the striker getting a shot on target.

62 minFrance are taking pot-shots from everywhere now. Most of them are being blocked; some are going for corners and the rest are out of play or going through to Antwi. It looks to be time for some changes.

64 minDigne has had an absolutely brilliant game. Not only has he been the main outlet for France up front but he has been rock solid at the back. Bahebeck does really well on the left to get past his man, but his pass to Sanogo is misplaced.

65 minGOAL! France 1-0 Ghana (Kondogbia)

66 minThere are a few things about that goal. Really poor marking from Ghana, but what a fine throw from - of course - Digne. He plants the ball on the head of Kondogbia, and France lead.

67 minFRANCE SUB: Axel Ngando comes on for Thauvin to immediately shore things up a little.

68 minGOAL! France 2-0 Ghana (Sanogo)

69 minThe future Arsenal man gets the goal that in truth he scarcely deserves. Kondogbia plays it in to him and Sanogo takes a really nice touch to open the space in front of him and plants it through the legs of Antwi. Boakye comes on for Anaba for Ghana.

70 minFrance do deserve to be winning, in fairness. They have created far and away the best of the chances, and it was only a matter of time before they managed to get in front.

73 minGhana have had their better spell of the half since the goal, but that could well be more to do with France sitting back a little. Duncan swings in a really good free kick, but there's a reluctance from the Ghanaians to hurl themselves at the ball and in the end France win the goal kick.

74 minGHANA SUB: Kennedy Ashia comes on for Odjer, who played well in the first half but has since faded.

76 minStill Ghana come forward and Nketia has acres of space on the right in which to cross, but there's a surprising lack of white shirts to aim for and France can easily clear.

78 minGOAL! France 3-0 Ghana (Bahebeck)

79 minFrance create an absolutely superb move, involving nearly every player. However, Bahebeck is flagged just offside as he cut across to Sanogo. Not to worry, though, as he's then played in by Ngando to slot low into the bottom corner off the post. Great finish.

82 minFRANCE SUB: Sanogo, who has been much, much better this half, makes way for Alexy Bosetti.

84 minGOAL! France 3-1 Ghana (Boakye)

86 minIt's nice work down the left side from Ghana. Acheampong plays in the sub Boakye who taps in at the far post for probably only a consolation. Immediately afterwards Acheampong is played in by the goalscorer but he pokes wide when through! Should be 3-2!

88 minIt's a really open end to the game and there could well be another goal. I don't see two, though, so France should have the three points here.

90 minThere will be two minutes added on for Ghana to get a point here. Very, very unlikely. A great half though this has been.

90+2 minFRANCE SUB: Kondogbia comes off - slowly - with Lemina coming on. Narh is also booked.

90+3 minFULL-TIME: France 3-1 Ghana

5.53pmIn the end the correct team has won. After squandering a number of chances France open their account with a solid win. Ghana showed plenty, but they were outclassed in the end.

5.54pmThat's all from me tonight. Be sure to stick with us throughout the tournament and check out the reports and reaction going on site now. Goodbye.

Troyes head coach Jean-Marc Furlan on May 11, 2012
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