The Black Princesses fell heavily to host nation France in their opening game of the 2018 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup on Sunday evening at the Stade de la Rabine in Vannes.
Yussif Basigi’s ladies put in just-above-average performance against the European powerhouse who killed off the game as a contest just after the first half-hour with Olympique Lyonnais’ Emelyne Laurent racing the Les Bleus into a 5th minute lead.
The Princesses defence could not glue the leaks to gag the host’s insurgency as Hélène Fercocq, who plays for Metz, doubled their advantage 22 minutes later to the cheers of home fans.
While the West African side created fewer chances and offer little threat upfront Laurent gnawed her fangs and sunk in to draw her brace and France’s third on the 31st minute mark.
Basigi’s ladies played with some composure after the break as they held the French side tight and steadily garnered their confidence as 18-year-old Sandra Owusu-Ansah cut down the deficit for the Ghanaians from a Grace Asantewaa assist.
Paris Saint-Germain 18-year-old midfielder Sandy Baltimore left it late in the 96th minute to score the fourth goal.
The Princesses opening day defeat might steal a spark from their determination but a look back at the history for the team’s campaign from their previous four campaigns should not leave them dejected.
Up next is the Netherlands on Wednesday afternoon at the same venue. Though, the Dutch girls claimed a 2-1 marginal win over New Zealand Ghana can face them with some confidence. They can reach the knock out stages if they do the job on Wednesday and win against New Zealand on Sunday.
Below is a look back at how the Black Princesses have fared in their opening games at the FIFA tournament since their debut in 2010.
2010 in GERMANY
Ghana were drawn in Group D with the United States, South Korea and Switzerland. In the opening game at Dresden against the Koreans, Ghana took the lead through Deborah Afriyie in the 26th minute but the Asians fought back and won 4-2 as James Kuuku Dadzie’s ladies slipped to a heavy loss. The team finished 3rd with four points after drawing with the USA and beating Switzerland.
2012 in JAPAN
Drawn in Group D again. Robert Sackey’s girls were battered 4-0 by the USA in their opening game at Hiroshima in what turned out to be an abysmal campaign as the team finished fourth with no point, failing to score a goal and conceding 6, losing to China and Germany in the process.
2014 in CANADA
Obviously best ever campaign at the competition. BUT, they failed to reach the knock out rounds. Coach Bashir Hayford’s side finished strongly with 6 points in a group that featured North Korea, Finland and hosts Canada. The second time after 2018 that Ghana have gone into the same group with the host nation. The team beat Canada 1-0 in the opening game of the competition thanks to a strike from forward Sherifatu Samaila at the National Soccer Stadium in Toronto on August 5.
2016 in PAPUA NEW GUINEA
Ghana suffered a 1-0 loss to New Zealand on November 14 at the PNG Football Stadium in Port Moresby. Ghana finished last in Group C with 2 points from their 3 opening games. 2016 has offered familiar foes in 2018. After the opening day defeat Mas-Ud Dramani’s girl rose from the ashes to draw 2-2 with France with Sunday’s scorer Sandra Owusu-Ansah netting a 44th minute equaliser.
By the records and facts Ghana have won just one of their opening games in their five appearances at the competition with that solitary win coming in the 2014 campaign when Bashir Hayford’s girls beat host nation Canada. Ghana have failed to progress beyond the group stage in all previous four campaigns.
By El Akyereko
Follow the writer on social media (Facebook, Twitter & Instagram): El Akyereko Jefazo