This will be a day which 17-year-old striker Kadidiatou Diani will never forget. Her two goals either side of half time helped France to their first FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup Final in which they will meet either Korea DPR or Germany.
The No9, who found the net in the group games against the Koreans and Gambia, was on fine form at the 8km Stadium in Baku, showing extreme coolness under pressure to hand her side a deserved win.
Ghana were a spirited outfit, but had no answer to the deserved winners. France dominated the play from the outset, placing the Africans on the back foot. Diani saw a shot from 20 yards parried on to the crossbar by Victoria Agyei before Ghana’s Jane Ayieyam’s effort went narrowly wide.
The missed chance served as a wake-up call for France who stepped up the pace and broke the deadlock shortly after the half hour. Mario Romanelli’s ball was floated into the box, Diani jumped higher than her marker and headed home.
Sandra Toletti should have made it 2-0 on the stroke of half-time, but missed the target when unmarked.
Ghana’s task was made all the more difficult in the 52nd minute when Ayieyam received a second yellow card, which allowed France to keep possession, restricting the Black Maidens to a handful of half chances.
A minute before the full-time whistle sounded, Diani was played in by Noemie Carage and slotted the ball past the keeper to seal the win and a place in the Final.
"We can be world champions, but we will be facing an extremely strong team whoever we play. We drew against Korea DPR in the group phase and lost to Germany in the final of the European Championship. What I mean to say is that we are not the favourites in the final. We are the outsiders."
Guy Ferrier, France coach