France vs Peru – Thursday, June 21, 16:00BST/17:00CEST/18:00 MSK – Ekaterinburg Arena, Ekaterinburg, Russia
France made hard work of their opening game against Australia but eventually collected all three points thanks to the work of Paul Pogba and the goal-line technology system. Peru meanwhile slipped to a defeat against Denmark in their first game, despite dominating their European opponents for the majority of the game they just couldn’t find that all-important goal. Can the CONMEBOL side find their first World Cup goal in 36 years? France vs Peru will give us the answer.
Didier Deschamps’ side just about picked up all three points from their first fixture, after a solid start they invited their Antipodean opponents back into the fixture. As such the World Cup winner is expected to shake up his system against the creative Peruvians, which has led to further criticism from the French national media.
Victory in Ekaterinburg on Thursday evening should be enough to see the Euro 2016 runners-up make the knock out stages once again, they will be hoping they are able to go one further in this competition.
After a very long wait, Peru’s return to the FIFA World Cup stage didn’t go to plan. Although they dominated their Danish counterparts for the vast majority of the fixture, they were unable to find an all-important, crucial goal. Christian Cueva was almost inconsolable after he fired a late first-half penalty over the bar, and the South American’s went on to waste further excellent chances. On reflection, their 36-year absence should have resulted in a fairytale win.
France vs Peru – Players to look out for:
Paul Pogba #6 – France (Manchester United)
The 25-year-old midfielder had the final say during Matchday one, it was his burst into the box, and shot, that led to Les Bleus winning goal. Although originally credited with the strike, it was retrospectively taken off him after the game and awarded as an Australian own-goal. However, his performance was still met with criticism from some French media quarters – leading to his agent, Mino Raiola, to leap to his defence: “He reconfirmed what a big player he is and the importance he has in a team”.
Paolo Guerrero #9 –Peru (Flamengo)
The centre-forward was a surprise omission from the starting line-up versus Denmark, but his late introduction showed the ability contained within the 34-year-old. The controversy surrounding the Brazilian based forward has been constant since he received a ban after testing positive for a cocaine by-product – which he said was taken unknowingly as part of a herbal tea treatment for flu. His presence at the World Cup comes after an agreement to temporarily lift a 14-month doping ban, pending an appeal after the tournament.
France vs Peru – Match Stats
- France are unbeaten in their last seven World Cup fixtures against CONMEBOL opposition (W3 D4).
- Peru are winless in their last seven World Cup matches (D2 L5).
- Peru were beaten by Denmark on their return to the World Cup on Matchday one, after a 36-year absence from the tournament.
Futbolgrad Network Prediction: France vs Peru – 2-1
France vs Peru – Lineups
Lloris – Pavard, Varane, Umtiti, Hernandez – Kanté, Pogba – Mbappé, Griezmann, Matuidi – Giroud
Head Coach: Didier Deschamps
Gallese – Trauco, Ramos, Rodriguez, Advincula – Tapia, Yotun – Carillo, Cueva, Farfan – Guerrero
Head Coach: Ricardo Gareca
Chris Williams is a freelance European football journalist. Primarily covering the Bundesliga, Premier League and both of UEFA’s European club competitions. Published in both local and international publications, he also contributes to television and radio across the globe. A member of the UK’s Sports Journalist Association and the International Sports Press Association (AIPS). Follow Chris Williams on Twitter @Chris78Williams