France secure a place in last 16, Peru win hearts

Posted June 22, 2018

Blaise Matuidi and Olivier Giroud were restored to the starting XI and the Juventus man played an important role in the victory - even if that was not down to his technique.

Kylian Mbappe said that playing at a World Cup was "a dream come true" after the teenager scored the victor in a 1-0 victory over Peru to send France into the last 16 on Thursday.

But the best opportunity of the first half fell to Peru's returning record goalscorer Paolo Guerrero, who cannily ran across goal but shot directly at Hugo Lloris from eight yards.

He told a press conference: "We are in the knockout stages so we are very satisfied. It's something we have to improve". It wasn't the dominance that the 7th ranked France was expected to show against the 36th ranked Australians, but the win is still worth 3 points, no matter how it was earned.

His deflected victor against Australia helped Les Bleus to all three points in the opener and he played a key role in France's victor on Thursday night. Against France it will be hard to carve out as many chances as they did against the Danes, but Peru need to keep that positive mindset going once more and hope that this time it pays dividends.

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"These people are incredible".

Peru coach Ricardo Gareca said: "We thank the Peruvian fans so much for the great support in Russian Federation".

"We thank our fans and people (from other countries) will have been surprised by the passion and love our fans have for us".

This is what the Peruvians must have been going through when the final time whistle blew as France had won the match courtesy of a first-half strike by Kylian Mbappe.

After the break, Peru made their intention clear by substituting midfielder Yoshimar Yotun with forwarding Farfan, while full-back Alberto Rodrigues was replaced by central defender Anderson Santamaria in order to provide more pace and width.

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Surprisingly though, they dropped this energy as the first half of the game progressed and allowed Pogba to settle into the game.

The forward had already miscued a volley when Giroud's effort looped over Gallese and into Mbappe's path for an easy tap-in.

Having survived a nervous opening 10 minutes, France looked as though they might dominate the match, with Antoine Griezmann darting at Peru's defence, Mbappe showing off his tricks and flicks, and full backs Benjamin Pavard and Lucas Hernandez pressing forward on the wings.

Paul Pogba, one of France's best players, set up the 34th-minute goal for Mbappe.

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