France vs. Peru: World Cup Predictions,Betting tips,Expected Starting XI
France can move closer to the last 16 of the World Cup on Thursday when they face Peru at Central Stadium in their second Group C game.
Les Bleus narrowly secured maximum points against Australia in their opening match of the tournament, winning 2-1 thanks to a VAR-assisted penalty – which was converted by Antoine Griezmann – and a fortuitous Paul Pogba goal.
Despite winning that match, however, Didier Deschamps will be keen to see an improvement from his players against the South Americans
Questions came thick, fast and critical. Why couldn’t they create more chances? Are the tactics flawed? Should the front three be abandoned? What about Paul Pogba? (There is always something about Paul Pogba.) Raphaël Varane took a moment when he was up in front of the media at France’s base camp in Istra, near Moscow, to ask something of the inquisitors. “If you could be a bit more positive, that would be cool,” he said.
The thing is, being more positive is exactly what the public crave from France. For a country with ambitions to fare well in this World Cup, to try to go further than the quarter-final exit in Brazil four years ago, the pattern of the opening game was a worry. The team did not function smoothly. The thrill count was on the low side. A new three-pronged attack that was audacious in principle was subdued in practice.
Ever since, the pressure has been on Didier Deschamps to abandon it and all the signs suggest he is about to throw his exciting big idea out the window. The revolution appears to have lasted one game. With Peru on the agenda for match number two Deschamps has gone back to the drawing board. “The aim is to put everyone in their best position but you have to reach a balance,” the manager said.
Giroud is a handy metaphor for the more pragmatic style associated with Deschamps. But even if Giroud’s characteristics may not be quite as glamorous as some of the pacier options, the 31-year-old’s goalscoring record for France exceeds his reputation. He is fourth in the all-time list, behind Thierry Henry, Michel Platini and David Trezeguet. He has scored the same number of goals as Zinedine Zidane (in far fewer appearances). His goals-per-game ratio is the same as Henry’s. “When he is not there we realise just how useful he can he be,” said Deschamps pointedly.
Potential France XI: Lloris; Pavard, Umtiti, Varane, Hernandez; Kante, Pogba, Matuidi; Mbappe, Griezmann, Giroud.
Like France, Ricardo Gareca’s side have no new injury worries ahead of the game, but there may be some changes, particularly in attack.
Team captain Paolo Guerrero came on as a substitute against Denmark and may be given the nod to start, meaning Jefferson Farfan could be moved out wide.
Potential Peru XI: Gallese; Advincula, Rodriguez, Ramos, Trauco; Yotun, Tapia, Cueva, Farfan, Carillo, Guerrero.