After winning their first game against Australia 2-1, les Bleus were looking for a repeat against Peru. Peru lost their first game to Denmark, and needed a win to stay in the competition. The fans were largely on the side of Peru, with a few blue jerseys supporting France here and there.
Les Bleus took the field in dark blue, and Peru, in white and red, game out swinging. Forwards Olivier Giroud, Antoine Griezmann, and Kylian Mbappé remained largely in the background relative to Peru’s forwards in those first few minutes. France’s defense was up to the challenge and kept Peru at bay until 10′ when Peru took the first shot on goal (though it was a wide miss). At 11′, midfielder Paul Pogba took his own shot on Peru’s goal (he also missed). For the next fifteen minutes, France was pushing hard, pressuring Peru and moving fast. They kept the ball on Peru’s side and, though Peru’s defense floundered, France couldn’t seem to get it over the line.
Peru’s Paolo Guerrero got a yellow card at 24′ for hitting defender Samuel Umtiti in the face, though Umtiti wasn’t injured.
Finally, an excruciating 35′ in for France, Giroud sent the ball toward the goal, and Mbappé gave it the final kick in. The momentum had been there, with France pushing against Peru’s defense for essentially the previous 20 minutes.
At the beginning of the second half, Umtiti went down after getting kneed in the thigh. He writhed in pain, and a stretcher was brought onto the field. The defender limped off the field, but was able to return to the game. France kept the ball mostly on Peru’s end, aided by kicks off side and illegal moves by Peru which kept returning the ball to France. The advantage changed hands (or really feet) at 57′ and France was shadow of their usual selves. Peru played keep-away by France’s goal, coming close to scoring multiple times, only to be stopped by France bopping the ball away.
Just as France had done in the first half, Peru put the pressure on les Bleus for about 20 minutes in the second half, up until around 80′ when France shifted its focus to running out the clock, passing more and spending time keeping the ball in the corners. Coach Didier Deschamps looked sad and anxious when the camera cut to him, unlike in the previous game where he spent significant time flailing his arms at his players. His face aside, he apparently had a plan when he sent in forward Nabil Fekir for Griezmann, and forward Ousmane Dembélé for Mbappé.
Perhaps the tensest moment of the game came at the very end when Peru had a chance to tie the score. Peru’s Paolo Guerrero took a penalty kick after getting backhanded in the face by defender Raphael Varane. Goalie Hugo Lloris blocked the shot easily, as he had done all game with most other shots Peru had on goal.
Midfielder Steven Nzonzi came in for Paul Pogba at 90′, and France successfully kept Peru at bay for the last four minutes of stoppage time.
With this 1-0 win over Peru, France is guaranteed to advance to the next round of the World Cup. Peru, with a record of 0-2 at the Cup, will be eliminated.
In History: Kylian Mbappeé became the youngest French player to ever score a goal in the World Cup.