For the second time in a row, France overcame their opponents by one goal difference. The French are a young team, which however can rely on the experience of coach Didier Deschamps, somebody who has already won a World Cup in 1998. It is therefore not a chance that the winning goal over Peru yesterday came from the youngest striker in this World Cup, that 19-year-old Kylian Mbappé from Paris Saint Germain, where he receives an average salary of 17.5 million euro. No big deal.
If the Bleus won like only great teams can do i.e. making full score without impressing, on the other side of the pitch Peru tried their best, but struggled to create any attacking chance – and eventually had to surrender to the French’s energy and solidity.
Because yes, Deschamps lines are filled with talented youngsters such as Corentin Tolisso, Paul Pogba, and Mbappé himself. However, the French coach can also make good use of those kind of players who are terribly useful in a World Cup: The likes of Blaise Matuidi and N’Golo Kanté, who get stuff done and leave aesthetics to the Louvre visitors. This is France, a country which is a serious candidate for a ticket to the Final in Moscow.
Deschamps gave Kanté – a 27-year-old offensive midfielder from Chelsea – one and one task only: organize and create the Blues’ game. This was the winning factor yesterday, which gave France the three points, an early qualification to the Round of 16, and good hopes for the future. If that is not enough, please let us know.
There was thus a huge difference between yesterday’s France, and the one seen at the debut with Australia. Deschamps chose to put more experience into the field, giving some rest to Tolisso and Ousman Dembélé. He lined up Blaise Matuidi, just out from a sensational season with Juventus, and his seasoned striker Olivier Giroud to support the confirmed attacking duo Griezmann-Mbappé.
The result was a French side continuously attacking in the first half, and coming close to score first with Le Petit Diable, who marked with another great performance his recent contract renewal with Atlético Madrid. It was then Giroud and Pogba’s turn, before France finally found their goal in the 34th minute.
Juventus’ former midfielder Pogba served Giroud, whose shot was deflected by the Peruvian defense. However, the ball bounced on the feet of Kylian Mbappé who could not but tap it in for an easy 1-0. The South Americans were stunned, and turned into an easy prey for Deschamps boys, who went close to make it two just before half time: Their brilliant one-touch combination ended with a shot by Lucas Hernandez, which was parried back by keeper Pedro Gallese.
After the break, France went for maintaining the score unchanged, but found a much more determined and audacious Peru. Wonder what coach Ricardo Gareca must have told his boys in the changing rooms. The pattern in the last 45 minutes was quite different indeed, with Peru failing to equalise when Pedro Aquino beat Hugo Lloris, but saw his shot hitting the crossbar, and then again with a beautiful volley by Jefferson Farfan.
But that was all that Peru could come up with. Deschamps reshuffled his lineup and sent in Ousman Dembélé and Nabil Fekir to avoid any bad surprises, and the score did indeed not change. France could celebrate, whereas Peru had to acknowledge the end of their chances of making it to the knock-out phase.
June 21, 2018 – World Cup Group Stage Pool D
SCORER: 34′ Mbappé
|FRANCE (4-2-3-1): Lloris ; Pavard, Varane, Umtiti, Hernandez; Kanté, Pogba 89′ Nzonzi); Mbappé (75′ Dembelé), Griezmann (80′ Fekir), Matuidi; Giroud (Areola, Mandanda, Kimpembé, Lemar, Tolisso, Rami, Sidibé, Thauvin, Mendy) Coach: Deschamps|
|PERU (4-2-3-1): Gallese; Advincula, Rodriguez (46′ Santamaria), Ramos, Trauco; Aquino, Yotun (46′ Farfan); Carillo, Cueva (82′ Ruidiaz), Flores; Guerrero (Corzo, Araujo, Hurtado, Caceda, Tapia, Polo, Cartagena, Carvallo, Loyola) Coach: Gareca|
REFEREE: Hassan (U.A.E.)
NOTES: Yellow Cards: Matuidi, Pogba (F), Guerrero, Aquino (P)
Click below to relive some other matches in Group D: