|Mbappé and Griezmann celebrate the opening goal. (Image from Fox Sports)
To be fair, the game was much more open than I’d anticipated. It was an even contest for much of the first half, and parts of the second. In the end, a late first half goal from Mbappé proved decisive and gave the boys in blue a narrow win which allows them to progress, meanwhile eliminating Peru from the tournament. This will be a real sucker punch to the South American side, having put up a decent show, only to be knocked out cold by such fine margins.
France lined up in a 4-3-3 formation. Lloris in goal to reach an illustrious 100th cap, with the same back four was the last game. The only difference to the three central midfielders was Matuidi coming in for Tolisso. Up top, Griezmann and Mbappé flanked while it was good to see Giroud take up the number 9 role.
Peru were regimented in a 4-2-3-1 manner; Gallese (GK), Advincula (RB), Ramos and Rodriguez (CBs), Trauco (LB), Aquino and Yotun (CMs), Carillo (RM), Cueva (CAM), Flores (LM), Guerrero (ST).
Peru came out of the blocks well and started the game off in a lively fashion. Contested for the ball strongly, looked to attack and resisted the pressing of France. Peru got some early shots in during the first ten minutes, with bursts of pace trying to cut through the lines of defence. France responded and had the better opportunities throughout, the game was end to end from then on but France didn’t really take control. The breakthrough came in the 34th minute, when Giroud latched onto a nicely weighted pass from Pogba, and saw his deflected shot tapped in by Kylian Mbappé.
The second half was also one of substance, Peru maintaining their high press and going after the game, France staying slow and a tad sluggish. There looked to be a shock in the 50th minute, with Pedro Aquino whacking the top of the bar with a superb long range strike that had Lloris beaten. Unlucky for the midfielder. With more shots and pressure as the game progressed, France were pegged, but managed to hold on and secure the points, and moving into the Round of 16.
FRANCE PLAYER RATINGS:
Hugo Lloris (7) Can’t fault the man, kept another clean sheet and made a couple of good saves here and there. Didn’t do too much in this match.
Lucas Hernandez (6) Had a much quieter game this time, didn’t seem as if he was going to penetrate going forward and was standard in defence.
Samuel Umtiti (6.5) Better from the 25 year old in this game. Challenged for the ball a lot and looked solid.
Raphael Varane (6) Partnered Umtiti competently and did the job really.
Benjamin Pavard (6.5) The young full back is growing in confidence and moving quite well down the wing.
Blaise Matuidi (7) Coming in for Tolisso, Matuidi had a very solid game, commanding the midfield battle and pairing up with N’Golo Kanté.
N’Golo Kanté (7.5) Had a good game, being coupled with Matuidi who plays in a similar, deep lying fashion to him, shored things up in front of defence and allowed Pogba to edge forward into more creative and offensive areas.
Paul Pogba (8) Again, a really good game from the United playmaker. It was his through ball that led to the goal, his tackling and robust attitude were good in winning challenges, and my word he can pass and see things on the pitch.
Antoine Griezmann (7) Standard game really. Has a good relationship with Giroud, and indeed Mbappé, so linked up and exchanged well playing in the front three system.
Olivier Giroud (9) A top quality, true centre forward’s performance from the big man. He provided France with the options of long balling if under pressure and playing to feet also with time in the midfield. He held up play superbly, found his teammates more often than not and set up the goal that won it (kind of). The only thing he didn’t do was score.
Kylian Mbappé (8.5) Wonderful performance, and let’s not forget this kid is still only 19! His goal was pivotal, his movement forward was fresh and dynamic, and he was good with the ball at his feet in linking up and getting the shots away. He’s the youngest player ever to score for France in a World Cup finals match.
Stephen N’Zonzi (n/a)
Ousmane Dembelé (6) Came on for Mbappé for the last 15 or so minutes, did alright in that role.
Nabil Fekir (6) Came on despite word of his knee being suspect, did ok in the last 10 minutes.
PERU PLAYER RATINGS:
Pedro Gallese (7) Again another good game for the Peruvian shot-stopper. Wasn’t to blame for the goal, did well to put in some decent saves and keep the scoreline at 1-0 and not more.
Luis Advincula (6) Couldn’t really see him in this game, an average one for him.
Christian Ramos (7.5) Contained the French front three pretty well, allowing for free flowing play further afield.
Alberto Rodriguez (6) In the first half, he played well. Taken off at half time.
Miguel Trauco (5.5) Ghosted in this game and stuff didn’t really happen through him. Struggled to contain the French wingers.
Pedro Aquino (7.5) Had a good game did the youngster. Unlucky not to have got his side a goal for his efforts. He stood up to the formidable French trio pretty well too.
Yoshimar Yotun (6) Solid, decent game. Not much more to say really. Replaced at half time.
Andre Carillo (6.5) The Watford winger seemed lively down that right touchline, looking to bring the ball infield and start good passages of play.
Christian Cueva (5) A real shame for this exciting young midfielder. It’s just not clicking for him, here on the biggest stage of them all. Had no real effects on the game and played with little confidence with the ball at his feet.
Edison Flores (6) A few bursts of pace and darting runs, but it wasn’t really happening out wide for Peru. Standard.
Paolo Guerrero (6) It was the skipper’s heavy touch and dispossession by Pogba that ultimately caused the goal. He looked decent as a striker though and tried to get in behind.
Raul Ruidiaz (n/a) Nothing to highlight on his gameplay in the last ten minutes.
Jefferson Farfan (6) Brought on to make things happen, in an offensively minded switch. Didn’t play too bad in the second half.
Anderson Santamaria (6) Like for like substitution, replacing Rodriguez. Slotted in nicely alongside Ramos.
MAN OF THE MATCH: Olivier Giroud.