Kylian Mbappe’s first World Cup goal was enough to send France into the last 16 with a 1-0 win against Peru in Group C on Thursday.
The striker slotted home from a deflected Olivier Giroud cross in the 34th minute and became France’s youngest ever goalscorer at a major tournament in the process, overtaking David Trezeguet’s previous record (vs Saudi Arabia in 1998).
Peru impressed again with their attacking play – particularly in the second half – but once again could not find the breakthrough and will exit the competition at the group stages after their final game against Australia next week.
France, who top Group C with six points after matchday two, will continue on to the knockout rounds.
France: Lloris (6), Pavard (6), Varane (6), Umtiti (7), Hernandez (7), Kante (7), Pogba (7), Mbappe (7), Griezmann (6), Matuidi (6), Giroud (7).
Subs used: Dembele (5), Fekir (5), Nzonzi (n/a).
Peru: Gallese (7), Rodriguez (6), Trauco (6), Ramos (6), Advincula (7), Cueva (6), Carrillo (8), Yotun (6), Flores (6), Aquino (7), Guerrero (7).
Subs used: Farfan (7), Santamaria (5), Ruidiaz (5).
Man of the match: Andre Carillo.
It was an even opening in Yekaterinburg, but France had two good chances in quick succession after quarter of an hour. Raphael Varane headed an Antoine Griezmann corner just wide before the striker forced a good save from Peru goalkeeper Pedro Gallese, hitting a nod-down from Giroud into the goalkeeper’s legs.
Peru had a few good chances in the first half, but their best came in the 31st minute as captain Paulo Guerrero rounded Samuel Umtiti in the area before striking, but it was well saved by the legs of Hugo Lloris. Not long after, Gallese denied Mbappe at the other end, saving from the striker’s scrambled backheel effort.
France made two changes with Olivier Giroud and Blaise Matuidi replacing Corentin Tolisso and Ousmane Dembele. Peru also made two changes with captain Paolo Guerrero coming in alongside Pedro Aquino.
A minute later, Mbappe beat the goalkeeper. A cross from Giroud on the left took a big deflection off the legs of Alberto Rodriguez, with the loose ball landing to Mbappe in the six-yard box, and he made no mistake in slotting home.
Peru could have got the equaliser six minutes after the restart but were denied by the upright. Half-time substitute Jefferson Farfan laid the ball off to Pedro Aquino and he hit a thunderous effort from 25 yards, but it pinged off the corner of the crossbar and went wide.
The South Americans continued to try their luck from range, with Luis Advincula letting fly from just outside the area in the 68th minute, but his curling effort also went over the crossbar. Not long after, the impressive Andre Carrillo fired a cross into the area but it ran just too long for Farfan, who could only poke it into the side of the net.
But despite late calls from the Peru bench to pile everyone forward with every attack and set-piece, they could not find their way through as France squeezed through into the last 16 with another unconvincing performance.
- France are unbeaten in their last eight World Cup fixtures against CONMEBOL opposition (W4 D4).
- Peru are winless in their last eight World Cup matches (D2 L6), scoring just two goals in this run.
- Peru have now attempted 27 shots without scoring at the 2018 World Cup finals; only Morocco (28) have had more without a goal.
- French captain Hugo Lloris is the 7th player to reach 100 caps with France – keeping a clean sheet in this match.
Man of the match – Andre Carrillo
Peru may not have won the game, but they have certainly won a number of new fans and Carrillo was particularly impressive on Thursday. He caused plenty of problems from the outset on the right wing, and continuously tried to put balls into the box.
He also tried his luck on an occasion – firing over the crossbar from 20 yards in the 61st minute – and also put a shift in defensively when called upon.
Group C will play their final group games on Tuesday 26 June at 3pm, with France taking on Denmark before they move onto the knockout stages while Peru take on Australia at the Fisht Olympic Stadium.