After an unconvincing opening game vs Australia, France’s improvement was highly expected; Peru, their new opponent were , at least for the most part, the better team in defeat to Denmark and showed some good technical football, but without the finishing touch. This is the first official game between these two nations ; there was a friendly in 1982, when Peru won 1-0 (Juan Carlos Oblitas); the goalscorer’s nickname was “El Ciego” (the blind man) cos he was wearing contact lenses.
Peru’s game was entertaining and surely their 25K fans who charmed Russia, merit a last victorious(?) game against Australia. Despite packages costing more than 40 times the average monthly wage, the Peruvians came in large numbers; many of them sold their car, mortgaged their home, just for the opportunity to cheer their beloved national team, after thirty-six years of watching other nations’ World Cup.
“These people are incredible,”, said their manager Ricardo Gareca. “We are pained, sorry we couldnt give them a better tournament, but we gave it our all. I think this is going to make us stronger”.
France’s Didier Deschamps irritation, was plain to see; ” We’re happy to qualify, our game was more fluid and flowing,” he said. “I saw Spain against Iran, they spent the last ten minutes defending…if you want 5-0, don’t come to a World Cup” ; for France, despite all that talent, had only some spells of intense brilliance in the first half, then it slowly faded away…
Kyllian Mbappé, the most expensively valued teenager in football, became France’s youngest goalscorer(34th) at a major tournament, thus erasing David Trezeguet’s goal vs Saudi Arabia (1998) currently FIFA’s guest of honour and watching from the stands.
Peru, got the upper hand after the break: Pedro Aquino’s stunning strike cannoned off the bar, between post and crossbar; André Carrillo tested Hugo Lloris’ goal but the french captain won his 100th cap and clean sheet, without much trouble. There was another chance in the first half when Paolo Guerrero’s shot was saved by Lloris’ feet(30th).
The inclusion of Olivier Giroud was not a suprise; the team needed more balance and freedom of action; Giroud’s presence helped by permitting players like Antoine Griezmann and Kyllian Mbappé to move around, putting pressure and create chances from Giroud’s buildup and experience. Kanté was everywhere…this player is so humble but without him on the pitch, the french team would have crucial problems.
France’s game was better than their first one against Australia, but they didn’t convince those who think that the french won’t go very far in this competition; Peru, despite their attack minded game and the support of so many passionate fans, will leave Russia, earlier that they were hoping to.
Next game for France will be vs Denmark and Peru’s vs Australia, one last try to go back home, proud of their achievement.
FRANCE : Hugo Lloris 6,5/10 Benjamin Pavard 6/10 Raphael Varane 6/10 Samuel Umtiti 6/10 Lucas Hernandez 6,5 /10 MOTH Ngolo Kanté 8,5 /10 Paul Pogba 8/10 Kyllian Mbappé 8/10 Antoine Griezmann 7,5/10 Blaise Mathuidi 6,5/10 Olivier Giroud 7/10
PERU : Pedro Gallese 6,5/10 Luis Advincula 6/10 Christian Ramos 6/10 Alberto Rodriguez 5/10 Miguel Trauco 5,5/10 Pedro Aquino 6,5/10 Yoshimar Yotun 6/10 Andre Carrillo 7/10 Christian Cueva 6/10 Edison Flores 6/10 Paolo Guerrero 6,5/10