France again failed to hit top gear, but managed to squeeze past Peru to clinch a passage to the FIFA World Cup Round of 16.
The French have picked up maximum points in Group C so far despite not playing to their talent level in either of their two matches.
After a dull opening half-hour, the first chance of the match fell to Peru’s Paolo Guerrero.
The striker wriggled in behind the French defence in the 31st minute, but his shot was saved with relative comfort by goalkeeper Hugo Lloris.
As so often happens in football, Peru conceded almost immediately after creating their best scoring opportunity.
In the 34th minute, France’s Paul Pogba dissected the Peruvian backline with an excellent pass to find Olivier Giroud.
Giroud’s shot was blocked, deflecting right in to the path of Kylian Mbappé who easily tapped it in to an empty net to give Les Bleus the lead. The 19-year-old PSG man is now the youngest French player ever to score at a World Cup.
For the second game running, La Blanqirroja of Peru played well but were let down by their finishing.
Pedro Aquino nearly scored a spectacular equaliser just after halftime, but his firecracker of a strike from distance clipped the wrong side of the post.
The Peruvian side continued to push for the remainder of the match, and deserve a lot of credit for their bright and inventive attacking play. But as against Denmark, they were unable to find the goal they desperately needed.
The loss eliminates Peru from contention for the knockout stages. It is a huge disappointment for the nation’s passionate fans, who will feel unlucky to have nothing to show despite admirable performances in both matches.
Peru can still earn a consolation win in their one remaining game against Australia. Meanwhile, France will face Denmark in a match that will likely determine who tops Group C. Both matches will kick off simultaneously next Tuesday.
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