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France vs Peru
FIFA World Cup, Match 21, Group C
|Ekaterinberg Arena, Ekaterinberg|
France have secured their passage through to the knockout phase of the World Cup with a 1-0 win over Peru.
In what was generally a fast-paced, high quality game, the decisive moment for the French came in the 34th minute, when Mbappe pounced open a loose ball in the Peruvian six yard box to tap in what proved to be the winner.
Peru didn’t back away from the attacking, enterprising game that ended in defeat against Denmark. But they found they’d met their match in France, who displayed plenty of individual talent and clever interplay to generate a number of good scoring opportunities in the first half.
The inclusion of Giroud in Deschamp’s starting 11 made a significant difference, with the big Chelsea striker a consistent target going forward, and getting his teammates into good positions with clever headers to advantage.
In contrast to their underwhelming performance in a dour game against Australia, Les Bleus shone in a more open, high tempo contest.
Peru for their part tried to use the wings to attack, but while they got into good positions found it hard to craft clear chances throughout the evening.
As the second half progressed, the French began to defend more deeply and their goal looked more secure as the Peruvian attackers tired.
Many neutrals will no doubt be disappointed that the Incas bow out of the tournament so quickly, without having scored in their first two games. Their fans – so boisterous throughout both matches – deserve better after a 36 year absence from the World Cup, as do the players.
France will now go into their final group game against Denmark needing only a draw to top the group, while Peru will have only pride to play for against the Socceroos.
For Australia, this result means they now have to beat Peru and hope France beat Denmark to give them a chance to go through on goal difference or goals scored.
Group C continues at the FIFA World Cup as Peru look for their first points against France at the Ekaterinberg Arena. Join The Roar for live scores and coverage from 1am (AEST).
Peru excited a lot of neutrals in the first round of matches, both through their enterprising, fast-paced play and the enthusiasm of their supporters.
Unfortunately neither of those things got them a point or even a goal against the sturdy Danes.
France, on the other hand, looked unconvincing in their opener against Australia, but a penalty and a fortunate deflection earned them a win.
Such is football.
That combination of results puts the pressure very much on the Incas heading into this game. They don’t seem to have much problem playing an attacking style, and that’s handy, because they might just need three points from this game if they’re going to finish in the top two at the end of this group.
France will be feeling a different kind of pressure. While a draw still puts them in a strong spot headed into the third game, given the quality of their team and their history at this tournament they might feel they should not just qualify for the second round, but top the group.
Given Lionel Messi’s Argentina might await the second place getter, that’s more than a matter of pride.
At the time of writing, the result of the Socceroos’ game against Denmark is unknown.
Should Australia have lost, then a series of fortunate results is all that can be hoped for; we’ll need to beat Peru, Denmark to beat France, and for Peru to beat France tonight, just to be a chance of going through on goal difference.
Should Australia have drawn, then our best bet is to hope Peru get something out of this game to ensure France have reason to play for the win in their final group game against Denmark. A Peru win would be the best possible result.
Should Australia have won, then our fate is in our own hands. We’re probably best off hoping for the draw. A high scoring Peru win would be the worst result for us, as it would mean they could finish ahead of us simply by drawing the final game.
Peru seemed to play with all the confidence in the world despite failing to score against Denmark. In my heart I want to tip them to roll the French and turn the group on its head, but my head looks at the strength in that France lineup and thinks that they have too much firepower.
In fact, the French might just enjoy the extra space on the ball they’re likely to get in this game compared to their opener. They love to shoot the ball across the pitch at pace and I suspect will be able to match the Peruvian tempo that the Danes struggled with at times.
Peru surely can’t go goalless again, but unfortunately their tournament might be over in a competitive sense tonight.
France 2, Peru 1