France prevailed 1-0 against a fearless Peruvian team. As a result of this match, France advances to the knockout stage and Peru is going home early.
Five things from a hard-fought effort between France and Peru:
1. Peru came with a well-organized defense: The Peruvian defense is one of the biggest things to talk about in this match. It was so well-organized that Peru did not need eight players to defend. They were able to inflict pressure on France’s dangerous attack and find a way to cut off any scoring threats that France was able to attempt. Long story short, Peru had an answer for anything France threw at them.
2. Kylian Mbappe made history: At 19 years and six months, Mbappe is the youngest player to score for France in any major tournament. He scored his fifth international goal today in the 35th minute. He took advantage of the Peruvian goalkeeper being caught off-guard to give his team the lead.
Even Mbappe had difficulty penetrating through Peru’s dominant defense. His goal came when Olivier Giroud’s attempt was deflected.Mbappe did what he had to do and he took advantage of a golden opportunity.
3. Peru technically played better: The final result obviously says otherwise, but Peru did play better than France. Peru controlled the ball for 57 percent of the time and had over 500 passes. Peru did penetrate through the French defense, but one crucial miss cost Peru what could have been a goal. Paolo Guerrero botched a finish for the Peruvians late in the first half.
While France managed, a number of times, to clear the ball away or simply steal the ball from Peru’s attack, the pressure was truly intensifying, but France was able to find a way out.
4. France’s defense had a test: With Peru able to maintain more control, the French defense knew they needed to heavily defend at all costs. They knew they couldn’t allow Peru to score because they knew it would only apply more pressure on their shoulders.
It wasn’t easy for France to fend off Peru’s scoring threats. They did a good job of clearing the ball away, forcing Peru to re-calculate their offensive strategies. French goalkeeper Hugo Lloris only had two saves, but they were sigh-of-relief saves for the team, as well as supporters.
5. Both teams had a plan: Peru’s plan was to counter France’s attack and France’s plan was to expose and penetrate Peru’s strong defense. Both teams were able to achieve their objectives. It’s just that at the end of the day only one can be declared the winner.
France and both Peru both needed a win after very disappointing results in their first game. In France’s case, they did beat Australia, but under very disappointing circumstances. France will need to play much better in the knockouts. For Peru, they need a new plan so they can finish out their campaign and leave Russia with some pride.
France plays against Denmark in their final group game next Tuesday. France has a spot in the Round of 16, but they want to finish on the top of the group that way they enter the knockouts motivated and concentrated.
For Peru, they’ll be playing Australia and they’ll be playing for pride and there is some meaning in that. There’s no doubt, Peru wants to return home with their heads up. They have one more chance of at least leaving with a win. A win will make an impact on the team despite their early exit.