France vs. Ghana, 2013 Under-20 World Cup: Final score 2-1, Florian Thauvin spectacular for Les Bleus

Jamie McDonald

France is through to the final of the Under-20 World Cup, thanks to Florian Thauvin.

France have met everyone's big expectations in the Under-20 World Cup, but they faced a tougher fight from Ghana than expected. Les Bleus dispatched of the Black Stars easily in the group stage, but were made to fight for a very difficult 2-1 win in the semifinal.

The first half was fairly dull and uneventful until Florian Thauvin came up with a spectacular goal to put France ahead in the 42nd minute. Jean-Christophe Bahebeck was credited with the assist, but the goal was all Thauvin. He beat multiple defenders on the edge of the penalty area before rounding Ghana goalkeeper Eric Antwi and sliding the ball into the back of the net. Antwi picked up a knock at the end of the first half and was substituted off, with Michael Sai replacing him.

While France appeared to have all of the momentum to start the second half, Ghana flipped the game completely with a stunning 47th goal. Picking the ball up from Clifford Aboagye just outside of the penalty area, Ebenezer Assifuah evaded the French midfield and Samuel Umtiti before ripping a brilliant shot that ricochet off the near post and over the line for his fifth goal of the tournament.

Ghana continued to pressure France following the goal and looked likely to score again, but the French defense was able to hold them off. The Black Stars began to look less threatening around the 60th minute as the game became more chippy, with both sides committing numerous fouls.

France had been slowly getting back into the game until they took the lead in the 73rd minute, with Thauvin striking again. His shot from 18 yards was a good one, but it was low and to the near post with only adequate pace, and Sai was probably left feeling that he could have done better with another crack at making the save.

Ghana responded brilliantly, but France goalkeeper Alphonse Areola came up with a couple of massive saves to keep his team in front, denying Ghanian shots in the 75th and 77th minutes. Not long after that, Umtiti was shown his second yellow card to put Ghana up a man. Between that sending off and the pressure Ghana was applying, an equalizer felt imminent, but it never came. The French midfield stepped up in the closing minutes and took over the match, with Ghana failing to test Areola again after Umtiti's sending off.

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