France made hard work of their opening game, and didn’t look anywhere near their pre-tournament billing as one of the World Cup favourites. They did manage to grind out a result against Australia, thanks largely to some good fortune and VAR intervention. Les Bleus are going to have to show a lot more from their next couple of fixtures if they hope to go far in this tournament.
Peru meanwhile went very much the other way, they looked very impressive in patches of their opening match. They played with great intensity and frequently threatened the opposition goal, but were unable to grab the goal that their performance warranted.
Caught out by a Danish counter attack, Peru will be desperate to set the record straight and if the two performances parallel those of the first round, expect another World Cup upset.
France had looked dominant in the build-up to the tournament with impressive victories against Holland, Italy and Russia. They were only beaten once throughout qualifying and given the strength of their squad, they looked set to been one of this summer's standout teams.
It was a slow start for Les Bleus though, who struggled to get up to full pace against a spirited Australian side in their opening group game. France have an arguably incorrect VAR decision to thank for their victory, after taking the lead through a contentious penalty kick.
Samuel Umtiti then gifted the Socceroos a chance to equalise with a bemusing handball under very little pressure inside his own area. Mile Jedinak tucked away the equaliser from the spot before a deflection and goal-line technology combined to give the French the points.
Peru threatened the Danes throughout their first encounter but were unable to make some key chances count. Kasper Schmeichel produced a couple of top-drawer saves to keep his side in it, but the Peruvians were wasteful with the positions they found.
Just six shots on target from 17 attempts tell the story of a side who built well and quickly but couldn’t produce in front of goal. The Incas were then caught out on the break, with Denmark making the most of just three attempts on goal and leaving Peru on the verge of an early exit.
France will be hoping to secure passage to the next round in this fixture but they don’t have a good record against South American sides. In their 40 previous encounters with the five South American side in this competition, France have won just 11 times and lost 18.
They have only met Peru once in their history, in a friendly in 1982 which was a match they also lost. Michel Platini captained the French side in front of the home fans at Parc Des Princes but a late goal courtesy of Juan Carlos Oblitas spoiled the party for the French as they were beaten 1-0.
Dimitri Payet was forced to withdraw from the France squad prior to the tournament kick off after limping out of the Europa League final. Kylian Mbappe and Olivier Giroud were both doubts with late injuries as well but Mbappe proved his fitness to start the first game, whilst Giroud came off the bench for the French.
Didier Deschamps should have his full strength squad to call on for this fixture. Peru also escaped their first fixture without any serious injuries, and should be at full strength for their clash with the French.
France (4-3-3): Lloris, Sidibe, Varane, Umtiti, Hernandez, Matuidi, Kante, Pogba, Mbappe, Griezmann, Dembele
Peru (4-2-3-1): Gallese, Advincula, Ramos, Rodriguez, Trauco, Tapia, Yotun, Carrillo, Cueva, Flores, Guerrero
It wasn’t the best start from France but they got the result they required which is the mark of a good side. There is plenty of talent in that squad to turn a game as Paul Pogba showed with his long-range strike that secured France’s second.
They’ll face a much sterner test against this Peruvian side, and it wouldn’t be the first shock of the World Cup if the Incas were to emerge victorious. The French are just building into this tournament and should be buoyed by their result against Australia. Peru were also very wasteful in their opener and with Hugo Lloris to beat this time it doesn’t bode well for the South American side.
Prediction: France 2-0 Peru