Thauvin-inspired France make history
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A Florian Thauvin-inspired France battled their way beyond a valiant Ghana side to reach the FIFA U-20 World Cup final for the first time in their history.

Goals in either half from the hard-working midfielder saw Pierre Mankowski's side beyond the Black Satellites, after Ebenezer Assifuah had drawn the African side level just after half-time, despite the Colombia 2011 semi-finalists finishing with ten men after Samuel Umtiti was dismissed.

The game began at a frantic pace, and it was stunning to see the scoreboard still goalless with 15 minutes played. Frank Acheampong had sight of goal for Ghana, while each of Thauvin, Paul Pogba, Jean Cristophe Bahebeck, Lucas Digne and Yaya Sanogo went close for France.

Bahebeck clipped the outside of the Ghanaian post, but the best chances fell to the latter Les Bleuets pair. First they combined with a neat one-two to release Digne, whose shot from inside the area was saved by Eric Antwi - which squirmed free and was collected on the second attempt.

They were at it again when Digne fed Sanogo at the near post, and while the striker's first shot was blocked, he got his second effort on goal. It was too close to Antwi however, when the Arsenal man should have done better.

Antwi was to thank for the 2009 FIFA U-20 World Cup winners still being in the game and tightened up their rear-guard to stem the flow of chances, but Thauvin broke the deadlock right on half-time. Another silky exchange of passes unlocked the Ghanaian defence, this time Bahebeck and Thauvin, with the impressive Lille midfielder dragging the ball past Antwi superbly to slot into the open net.

Their lead was short-lived though, as Ghana flew out of the blocks after the break, with Ebenezer Assifuah firing home superbly to draw level with Bruma and Jese at the top of the scorers charts. Fighting off pressure from Geoffrey Kondogbia, he opened out on to his left foot and rifled an unstoppable effort in off the post.

It could have been two before the 50th minute, with Alphonese Areola pulling off two great saves. First tipped over Acheampong's curling free-kick, before palming away Michael Anaba's header from the resulting corner.

Assifuah had a gilt-edged chance to give Ghana the lead, only making minimal contact on a dangerous Acheampong cross, and they were made to pay when Thauvin struck again soon after. Picking the ball up in the right channel, he cut inside onto his left and drilled the ball into the bottom corner.

Areola had to save well from Assifuah to maintain that lead and a second yellow card for Samuel Umtiti made for a nervy final ten minutes for France. A final save from Areola, tipping over from Assifuah, saw them into the final.