Central Stadium, Ekaterinburg
The two teams from group C came with contrasting moods into this match. France won their opening encounter against Australia narrowly despite a lacklustre display and Peru went down to Denmark despite being the better side arguably. Ricardo Gareca, the Argentinean coach in charge of Peru since 2015 led them to two successive Copa America semis and the FIFA World Cup for the first time since 1982. Meanwhile France are unbeaten against South American teams in the World Cup since 1978.
France started the match really well and started building pressure on Peru. Deschamps opted for a 4-2-3-1 formation with Giroud back in the starting XI with Mbappe on the right wing and Griezmann just behind the striker. And interestingly Matuidi shifted to the left. The deadlock was broken by Mbappe in the 34th minute when he tapped home a deflected shot from Giroud. Peru made two changes at half time and went all out attack. They needed a result to stay in contention of a knockout spot.
But it was never meant to be. Despite enjoying the majority of possession (57%), Peru failed to make it count with their finishing with just 2 shots on target, including a brilliant effort that was kept out just by the goalpost. In the end, it’s France who go through and Peru who are out of the tournament. To know the game in details, keep reading below.
12’ – MISS! Pogba beats a Peru player before shooting from 25 yards out. The ball goes just wide off the target!
14’ – MISS! France are piling up the pressure and Griezmann’s corner is met by Varane’s head that sees the ball narrowly miss the far post.
16’ – Matuidi is shown the yellow card for his foul on Advincula.
23’ – Paolo Guerrero enters the referee’s books after his reaction to Umtiti’s foul on him.
30’ – SAVE! Peru are through via Guerrero who gets away for his marker but shoots straight at Lloris who makes a good stop.
33’ – SAVE! Pogba opens the Pure defence with a lovely lofted pass into Mbappe’s path but with his back to goal he fails to connect and the Peru keeper catches it.
34’ – GOAL! Mbappe makes the easiest of tapins after a shot from Giroud is deflected from Ramos and the ball goes over the keeper. He becomes France’s youngest ever goalscorer in a World Cup at the ago of 19!
45’ – Peru make two changes before the start of the second half. Yotun is replaced by Farfan, and Santamaria comes in the place of Rodriguez. Peru make their intentions clear.
50’ – Aquino gets the ball on the edge of the box before unleashing a beautiful outside curler off his right foot which is deflected over the crossbar. Inches away!
62’ – MISS! Peru are starting to pile up the pressure on France as Carillo makes room for him before unleashing a powerful shot at goal but it goes over.
68’ – MISS! Advincula cuts back from the right and narrowly misses the top corner with his shot.
75’ – France make their first change as Mbappe is taken off for the introduction of Barcelona’s Dembele.
80’ – Another change for France with Fekir replacing Griezmann.
81’ – Aquino is booked for pulling back Fekir after VAR’s intervention for booking the wrong man initially.
82’ – The final throw of dice for Peru as Ruidiaz comes in on Cueva’s place.
86’ – Pogba is shown the yellow card after he catches Farfan with his arm and gives away a freekick in a dangerous position.
87’ – SAVE! Lloris makes a comfortable save of Guerrero’s freekick which lacked power or precision.
89’ – France also make their final change as Pogba makes way for N’Zonzi.
FT: France 1-0 Peru
Pogba (***): The United midfielder is proving to be dependable game after game and France would be hoping for him to be at his best throughout the tournament. He made 7 accurate long balls, won 11 duels, 3 fouls, tackles and 2 interceptions. He was also good in the air today.
Paolo Guerrero (*): He came into the tournament controversially after the drug ban on him was lifted. But he failed to live up the reputation he has got back in his country. He had 2 shots on target that included a great chance that he could’ve slotted either sides of the keeper but was denied after he chose to go straight at him. He also could make just 13 accurate passes and failed to make any impact on the game.
*** Exceeded expectation **Met expectation * Didn’t meet expectation
Kylian Mbappe – He became the youngest ever scorer for France in the world cup at the age of just 19 today. The PSG man had a great outing today, and seemed to have worked on his mistakes from last game. He combined well with fellow French players today, typically with Giroud. He made 4 dribbles, and also won 2 fouls, 2 tackles and 8 duels.
Viewer Rating: ***
This game was full of intensity and kept fans at the edge of their seats for most part of the game. Peru threatened to score a lot of times and came close but despite the odd goal, the game was an entertaining one.
France were far from their best once again throughout the game except for the opening half an hour. However, the change in formation did appear good overall and Deschamps would look to continue with this formation into the next games. Peru have gone on 27 shots without scoring a goal in this world cup (only Morocco have more – 28). They would be disappointed to go out of the tournament despite playing so well in both the games, if only they’d have converted their chances.
This match implies that France are through to the knockouts even a draw would ensure them a first place finish. As for Peru, the Peruvian dreams are over even though they win their next game.