World Cup 2018, France vs Peru: What time is kick-off today, what TV channel is it on and what is our prediction?
The second round of matches is underway as France take on Peru in Group C. France scraped past Australia, 2-1, in their first match – but a win’s a win – while Peru went down 1-0 to Denmark.
What is the team news?
French striker Antoine Griezmann has been passed fit for today’s match as coach Didier Deschamps seeks to give his side a sharper attacking edge.
France, among the tournament favourites, opened with a sluggish 2-1 win over Australia and Atletico Madrid forward Griezmann, the top scorer at Euro 2016, was later substituted due to an ankle injury.
However, Deschamps has said Griezmann is fully fit. “He’s well. There was a little concern with one of his ankles, which was a little bit swollen after the match. He wasn’t at this best during the match, he had heavy legs.”
Dynamic midfielder N’Golo Kante also struggled in the first game: “This meant we weren’t able to have enough dynamism in attack, and not enough efficiency,” added Deschamps.
Deschamps has also not ruled out starting with Olivier Giroud, even if his comments on the striker were ambivalent.
“The problem with Olivier is very often when he plays, he plays in his own register, he’s not in the same register as the others. But when he’s not there, we realise how useful he is,” he said.
Pero coach Ricardo Gareca has declined to say if veteran striker Paolo Guerrero, who looked sharp as a substitute against Denmark, will start the game.
He said the decision had nothing to do with the 34 year-old’s fitness, noting rather that Guerrero had been the last player to join the squad after winning a reprieve from a doping ban.
The squads in full:
Goalkeepers: Hugo Lloris, Steve Mandanda, Alphonse Areola.
Defenders: Djibril Sidibe, Benjamin Pavard, Adil Rami, Raphael Varane, Samuel Umtiti, Presnel Kimpembe, Benjamin Mendy, Lucas Hernandez.
Midfielders: Paul Pogba, Blaise Matuidi, Corentin Tolisso, N’Golo Kante, Steven Nzonzi.
Forwards: Kylian Mbappe, Olivier Giroud, Antoine Griezmann, Ousmane Dembele, Florian Thauvin, Thomas Lemar, Nabil Fekir.
Goalkeepers: Pedro Gallese (Veracruz), Carlos Caceda (Deportivo Municipal), Jose Carvallo (UTC).
Defenders: Aldo Corzo (Universitario), Luis Advincula (Lobos Buap), Christian Ramos (Veracruz), Miguel Araujo (Alianza Lima), Alberto Rodriguez (Atletico Junior), Anderson Santamaria (Puebla), Miguel Trauco (Flamengo), Nilson Loyola (Melgar).
Midfielders:Renato Tapia (Feyenoord), Pedro Aquino (Lobos Buap), Yoshimar Yotun (Orlando City), Paolo Hurtado (Vitoria Guimaraes), Christian Cueva (Sao Paulo), Edison Flores (Aalborg), Andy Polo (Portland Timbers), Wilder Cartagena (Veracruz).
Forwards: Andre Carrillo (Watford), Raul Ruidiaz (Morelia), Jefferson Farfan (Lokomotiv Moscow), Paolo Guerrero (Flamengo).
What’s the latest news on the two teams?
Captain Hugo Lloris admits France will struggle to beat Peru if they replicate their opening World Cup performance.
Les Bleus relied on a late own goal as they scraped to an unconvincing 2-1 win over Australia on Saturday. And goalkeeper Lloris, who will win his 100th cap in the match, knows they must produce an improved display.
“There is always pressure for all matches, especially when we started the World Cup,” said the Tottenham player at his pre-match press conference. “But this is when you have to go beyond your own capacities as a competitor.
“This is going to be a difficult match; if we do not raise our quality level, we are going to have some difficulties. Peru are a quality team, a difficult team to beat. We know that the players are committed to playing for their country.
“It is their last chance to go through the group stages so they are going to give everything and we are going to have to raise our quality level so we can get the three points.”
History was made in France’s opener when they benefited from the first use of VAR at a World Cup. Antoine Griezmann put them ahead from the penalty spot after referee Andres Cunha adjudged he had been fouled by Joshua Risdon having watched replays at the side of the pitch.
Griezmann was later substituted due to an ankle injury. “There was a little bit of concern with one of his ankles because it was a little bit swollen after the match but he has started the training sessions as per usual,” said Didier Deschamps. “He wasn’t at his best during the match, he had heavy legs, it can happen, but it wasn’t less decisive because he did score the goal.
“After that I decided to get him out of the pitch so that we could have something extra that he was not able to give. When it came to the final result, it did not have any consequences.”
Peru, playing at a World Cup for the first time since 1982, suffered a narrow 1-0 defeat to Denmark in their opening match and need to pick up a result to extend their stay in Russia.
Coach Ricardo Gareca said: “The most important thing that Peru have is the team. We are here at the World Cup because of that.”
The Argentinian added: “France have their own identity, they can win the World Cup, they can adapt to every team they play against. They’re one of the favourites but we can be a tough opponent. We have our own style and will not let France distract us.”
What are the odds?
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France to win – 4/7
Draw – 3/1
Peru to win – 6/1
What’s our prediction?
France did not play well in their opening game against Australia. But a lot of credit must go to the Aussies. Peru will be equally resilient but Les Bleus – who have one of the youngest teams at the World Cup, with 19-year-old Kylian Mbappe and 21-year-old Ousmane Dembele among those tasked with leading the attack – will rip a team apart when they do click.
Prediction: France 3 Peru 0.