France book last-16 spot with underwhelming victory that sends Peru home

Alistair Tweedale
Kylian Mbappe celebrates after scoring the only goal of the game - AP

Kylian Mbappe scored the only goal of the game as France stuttered their way back to the top of the Group C table, sealing their spot in the knockout stages and sending winless Peru out.

It was another unconvincing display from the French, whose manager, Dider Deschamps has come under pressure this week to get his talented squad playing at something closer to their vast potential.

Peru had enough chances to get something from the game but France held out for a narrow win.

Both goalkeepers were called into action in a tight opening half-hour that saw promising chances for either side go begging. Peru had made the faster start, creating the game's best early chances, and Hugo Lloris - on his 100th appearance for France - was almost embarrassed when Yoshimar Yotun's attempted lob from the half-way line floated just over his crossbar.

Antoine Griezmann and Paul Pogba had chances for France, before Paolo Guerrero had the best opportunity of the first half, taking a cross into his path and away from Samuel Umtiti, but he shot straight at Lloris, who saved with his legs.

Mbappe taps in to score the only goal of the game Credit: Reuters

Not long afterwards France were ahead. It was a simple enough task for 19-year-old Mbappe, who only had to tap into an empty net from a couple of yards after Olivier Giroud's blocked shot had looped over the goalkeeper and fallen into the Paris St-Germain player's path. Mbappe becomes France's youngest ever goal-scorer at a World Cup finals.

The goal prompted a period of French domination, although they were unable to add to their lead before half-time.

Knowing they would have to score in order to save their World Cup campaign, Peru came out all guns blazing at the start of the second half. Substitute Jefferson Farfan was lively after being introduced at the break, and he was involved in the chance through which Peru nearly got back into the game.

Paolo Guerrero had Peru's best chance but could not find an equalier Credit: getty images

Farfan nutmegged Griezmann on the edge of the box, before laying off to Pedro Aquino, who flicked the outside of the post with a thunderous long-range shot that had Lloris rooted to the spot. Despite numerous attempts - Peru ultimately paid the price for failing to test the French goalkeeper enough.

The defeat means Peru are out of the World Cup having failed to score in either of their defeats, while a draw in their final Group C match against Denmark will send France through as group winners.

6:43PM

Peru's talisman could not find that all-important goal tonight

Here's Frederick Clayton analysing the Peru forward's performance.

6:25PM

Great idea

6:14PM

On-the-whistle analysis

Jeremy Wilson is in Yekaterinburg, and has looked at the impact a returning Olivier Giroud had on France's attack. Read his piece here.

6:09PM

Peru had enough chances

Peru could have got something from that, they certainly had enough chances, but too many of them came from distance. Lloris had a quiet day at the office.

6:02PM

Disappointment all round

Okay, France won't be too down after winning for a second successive game, but the fans won't be all that happy either, given the manner of this performance. It was definitely better than the laboured display against Australia, but they also did little to convince the doubters that they are contenders to win the competition.

Peru, meanwhile, with their attack-minded play and so many passionate supporters in Russia, crash out at the earliest possible stage. Most people would have wanted to see them get a result here - and they probably deserved something from the game - but it wasn't to be. Bye, bye, Peru.

Andre Carrillo reacts after Peru were knocked out of the World Cup Credit: AFP

5:53PM

Full time

France hold on for a narrow win and they have qualified for the second round. Peru are out of the 2018 World Cup. 

5:53PM

90 mins +4 - France 1 Peru 0     

Final minute, and France have the ball up the wrong end of the pitch. Dembele should keep it but he crosses and Gallese claims. He launches it up the field but Guerrero is tackled by the irrepressible Kante. France come again and Giroud wins a corner. That should be that.

5:51PM

90 mins +3 - France 1 Peru 0    

A free-kick for Peru out on the right near halfway. A chance to lump the ball into the box.

Avincula does just that, but Guerrero flicks on... and out of play. They'll be lucky to get another chance.

5:50PM

90 mins +2 - France 1 Peru 0   

France wind down the clock with the ball in the corner. They eventually cross, and Matuidi fires a volley at goal from the edge of the box, but it goes well wide.

5:49PM

90 mins - France 1 Peru 0  

Four minutes added on for Peru to find an equaliser.

5:47PM

89 mins - France 1 Peru 0 

Final sub for France: Nzonzi replaces Pogba. Deschamps is trying to shut up shop.

5:46PM

88 mins - France 1 Peru 0

It's on target but far too weak, and central. Lloris saves easily.

Only Peru's second shot on target tonight.

5:45PM

87 mins - France 1 Peru 0 

Farfan wins a free kick going down after Pogba catches him with a stray arm, and the ref gives him a pretty ridiculous yellow card. Pogba can't believe it. Peru have a free-kick 35 yards from goal, in a central position. Guerrero is over it. The Peru fans in the stands pray.

5:43PM

84 mins - France 1 Peru 0

Peru win a corner. Big opportunity. Lots of goals from corners at this tournament...

It's hit too deep, though, and Umtiti flicks it clear.

5:40PM

82 mins - France 1 Peru 0        

Dembele snatches at a falling ball on the edge of the box, sending his effort wide of the post.

Ruidiaz replaces Cueva for Peru.

5:40PM

81 mins - France 1 Peru 0       

Fekir's first contribution is to be fouled. The ref books Flores, but is then told by the VAR that he got the wrong man. Aquio eventually goes in the book. More seconds eaten up.

5:38PM

80 mins - France 1 Peru 0      

Another France sub: Fekir replaces Griezmann.

5:37PM

78 mins - France 1 Peru 0     

The clock is ticking and France are doing their best to slow this game right down. At every stoppage they're wasting Peru's precious seconds. 

5:33PM

74 mins - France 1 Peru 0    

Lovely move from Peru, ending with Carrillo crossing - this time slightly overhit - and Farfan can only hit the side netting.

Ousmane Dembele replaces Mbappe for France. He's giving every France team-mate a high five as he takes an age to get off the pitch.

5:29PM

70 mins - France 1 Peru 0   

20 minutes left for Peru to save their World Cup dream.

5:27PM

68 mins - France 1 Peru 0  

Guerrero can't turn his header towards goal, instead only helping France to clear.

Avincula fires over from distance. That was never troubling Lloris, just like most of Peru's efforts today.

5:24PM

66 mins - France 1 Peru 0 

Another poor cross does for Peru. Carrillo beats the full-back again but his cross is easily headed away by Umtiti.

5:23PM

64 mins - France 1 Peru 0

France are not scared to commit men forwards despite their lead. They break with numbers on both sides, but this attack breaks down when Mbappe delays too long and is eventually snuffed out.

5:20PM

61 mins - France 1 Peru 0 

A short period of Peru pressure, here. Ramos slides a lovely ball between Umtiti and Hernandez for Avincula on the right wing, but his cross is poor.

Farfan then gets in on the left but his cross lets him down, too. France fail to clear properly and Carrillo lines one up from distance. It's well hit, but he is just leaning back too much and it flies over the bar.

5:18PM

58 mins - France 1 Peru 0 

A good ball down the line finds Carrillo on the right wing, and his well-placed cross has nobody there to meet it. 

He then goes down on the edge of the box and wants a free-kick, or even a penalty, but he was only brushed by Hernandez and the referee wave away his appeals. Nothing more from VAR, either.

5:12PM

54 mins - France 1 Peru 0

France win a free-kick out on the left win, a few yards deeper than the edge of the penalty area. Griezmann stands over it.

Gallese eventually claims it after Peru fail to clear properly, and looks to launch a counter but only succeeds in booting straight out of play.

5:10PM

52 mins - France 1 Peru 0

Ooooooh wow so unlucky for Peru! Patient build up, and Farfan is at the centre of it all. He trades passes with Cueva and Flores, before nut-megging Griezmann (slightly fortunately), and laying off for Aquino, who smacks an effort with the outside of his boot towards the top corner. Lloris is rooted to the spot and it hits the outside of the post! So close to an equaliser!

5:08PM

49 mins - France 1 Peru 0  

Umtiti is quickly back on after a bit of magic spray. 

5:06PM

47 mins - France 1 Peru 0 

Umtiti is down, writhing around in pain holding his thigh after a challenge under a high ball with Farfan. He looks in a lot of pain and replays show Farfan's knee connected with the defender's thigh. He should be okay.

5:04PM

A double change for Peru

Santamaria comes on at centre-back for Rodriguez. Winger Farfan is also on for central midfielder Yotun in a more attacking move.

Peru get the second half started.

5:00PM

What will this half bring?

Peru have to score, or they'll become the latest team to crash out of the 2018 World Cup. We should have an open second period, as a result. Just a few minutes until we restart.

4:49PM

Half time

A really, really entertaining half, that. Peru have again given a great account of themselves and might well have taken the lead, but in the end France's superior quality shone through. They had the lion's share of the chances, and a front line of Mbappe, Giroud and Griezmann won't need too many opportunities to score.

France lead through Mbappe's 34th-minute opener at the break.

4:45PM

45 mins - France 1 Peru 0      

Two minutes added on.

4:44PM

44 mins - France 1 Peru 0     

Peru need half time. They are beginning to get drawn out of position and France look like they could profit.

4:43PM

42 mins - France 1 Peru 0    

France enjoying a bit of possession now, and they're happy to try and take the sting out of this with half time approaching.

They build slowly, left to right, right to left, and the ball eventually finds Griezmann in a No 10 position. He turns and spots Hernandez on the overlap on the left, but the full-back's shot is charged down.

4:40PM

39 mins - France 1 Peru 0   

It's opening up here as Peru push forward in search of an equaliser. Guerrero think he is fouled in the box but it's a desperate penalty shout, and France go racing up the other end. Mbappe charges down the right, leaving Rodriguez for dead, then feeds Griezmann in-field, who so, so nearly plays Giroud in on goal with a lovely poked dink with the outside of his boot, all done while running at full tilt. Incredible stuff.

4:38PM

36 mins - France 1 Peru 0  

4:34PM

GOOOOOOALLL! France 1 Peru 0 (Mbappe 34)

Pogba is involved again, darting in from a left-of-centre position after stealing the ball as Peru try to play out from the back. He then disguises a reverse pass into Giroud on his favoured left foot. He shoots first time, and the defender's challenge takes the ball up and over Gallese in goal, allowing Kylian Mbappe time to catch the ball up and tap home to put France ahead!

4:34PM

33 mins - France 0 Peru 0 

There's that little bit of magic we know Pogba is capable of: he picks up the ball 30 yards from goal, turns away from a defender and lifts the ball over the Peru backline and into the path of Mbappe, but he can't quite turn it goalwards.

4:32PM

31 mins - France 0 Peru 0

Oooh just as I said Peru weren't finding a way through they work their best chance of the game. Flores gets free down the left and crosses low to Guerrero, who steals in to nick the ball away from Umtiti, and suddenly he has a clear sight of goal! He winds up with his left and shoots low and hard at goal, but Lloris saves well with his legs. Huge chance for Peru.

4:29PM

29 mins - France 0 Peru 0      

Peru spreading play around nicely enough but haven't found a way through this France defence.

4:24PM

25 mins - France 0 Peru 0     

Flores swings wildly at an effort from a difficult angle on the edge of the box. It goes well wide. 

Peru have made a decent start but their shots have been pretty ambitious.

4:23PM

23 mins - France 0 Peru 0     

Umtiti goes down holding his face after the slightest of touches from an outstretched Guerrero arm. The Peru captain cannot believe it, and lets Umtiti know it. The ref isn't happy about his reaction, and he books him for his trouble.

4:20PM

20 mins - France 0 Peru 0    

Peru win a free kick in the attacking left corner of the pitch after a slightly harsh handball by Pavard. But it is wasted, when Umtiti is dragged to the ground in the box.

4:19PM

19 mins - France 0 Peru 0   

Lots coming down the France right so far. Given they have no left winger, maybe that shouldn't be too much of a surprise.

4:17PM

16 mins - France 0 Peru 0  

It's all happening now. Giroud nods a long ball down to Griezmann, who strikes at goal with his weaker right foot on the half-volley. He connects fairly well but Gallese saves pretty easily with his legs.

Then Peru go to break, but Matuidi brings that attack to a swift end by tugging back Advincula. Quite rightly, he is booked.

4:15PM

15 mins - France 0 Peru 0 

Corner France. Mbappe wants the VAR to take another look at the grappling going on in the box. The referee tells him to get on with it.

Varane attacks the cross, and rises, free from a marker to meet it perfectly. He fires a glanced header towards the far post but it just misses the target. France are growing into this.

4:13PM

12 mins - France 0 Peru 0

Griezmann flicks on to Giroud, who in turn looks to try and play his strike partner in. He fails, but the ball cannons off a defender and straight into Griezmann's path. The angling is tightening by the second, and he skews his effort wide of the near post.

Pogba then lets rip from distance, and has Gallesse scrambling across to his right-hand post. For a split second it looks like it might sneak in but it skids just wide in the end.

4:09PM

10 mins - France 0 Peru 0  

Good work by Carrillo down the right - Peru will be enthused by the start he has made up against Hernandez - but his cross lets him down.

4:08PM

9 mins - France 0 Peru 0  

France get their first bit of possession, and they manage to get up the pitch with a direct ball from Varane up to Giroud, who chests down to Pogba. They can't work an opening, though, and Peru clear.

4:07PM

7 mins - France 0 Peru 0  

Big, big challenges flying in from Peru. Pogba doesn't look happy about one but it's a fair one according to the ref. The ball falls to Yotun in midfield. He takes one look up and launches quite ludicrous effort at goal from the halfway line. For a split second it looks like Lloris might be in trouble, but it sails well over the bar.

4:05PM

5 mins - France 0 Peru 0 

The Peru fans are making all the noise and their players are making all the early running down on the pitch, too. France have not got out of their half, yet, and I don't think Giroud has touched the ball. Plenty of time to go, of course.

4:03PM

2 mins - France 0 Peru 0

Early intentions made clear: centre-back Rodriguez tells Giroud he's up for the physical battle with a big challenge, then Carrillo gets his head down and charges at Hernandez at left-back. Lively start.

Carrillo manages to hurt himself when going on another foray down the wing, but he looks okay to continue.

4:00PM

1 min - France 0 Peru 0

The stadium is absolutely bouncing, what an atmosphere for this one. We're up and running.

3:59PM

Here we go then

We're ready in Yekaterinburg, and France will get the match under way.

3:56PM

It sounds like there are a lot of Peru fans there

The stands are bathed in a sea of red, and the noise during the Peru national anthem suggests a very strong turn out from the South Americans.

3:53PM

A reminder of how weird this stadium is

This picture, taken during Uruguay's win against Egypt, shows the view from the back of the massive temporary stands at the Ekaterinburg Arena. Bizarre.

The odd view from the top of the temporary stand in Yekaterinburg Credit: Getty images

3:43PM

Big Ollie Giroud

The Chelsea forward leads the line for France today having done well when he came on for the final 20 minutes against Australia. He is a player who really is far too underrated, I think just because he is a big man and he is so often given far too little credit for the quality in other parts of his game. Yes, he is great at holding the ball up, but his finishing and passing are also top drawer. 

Giroud starts for France today Credit: AP

France have tried to play without him but always seem to do better when he is in the team. He scored three times in six appearances at Euro 2016, and it is the right decision to bring him in, here.

3:34PM

Ton up

Hugo Lloris makes his 100th France appearance today.

Lloris warms up ahead of the game Credit: reuters

3:28PM

How has this happened?

3:21PM

A bit of fun

Have a go on our match forecaster, and see who should win today based on six key factors.

I'm predicting a 2-1 France win.

3:14PM

Permutations

After Denmark's draw with Australia, they top the group with four points from two games. 

France will qualify for the second round with a win against Peru here, while a draw or a Peru win would leave all four teams in with a chance of qualifying with one game to go. Defeat for Peru sends them out.

2:55PM

It's all over in Samara

Denmark vs Australia has just finished 1-1, which is the best possible result for the two teams counting down to kick off here. Avoid defeat, and Peru will still have a chance of progression to the knockout round.

2:53PM

Two changes for Peru

Paolo Guerrero and Pedro Aquino, who both appeared from the bench against Denmark, come in for Renato Tapia and Jefferson Farfan:

Gallese; Advincula, Ramos, Rodriguez, Trauco; Aquino, Yotun; Carrillo, Cueva, Flores; Guerrero

2:50PM

The teams are in

As expected, Giroud and Matuidi start for France:

Lloris; Pavard, Varane, Umtiti, Lucas Hernandez; Kante, Pogba; Mbappe, Griezmann, Matuidi; Giroud

2:48PM

Jeremy Wilson's preview

Our man in Ekaterinburg wrote this piece yesterday on the pressure building on France manager Didier Deschamps. Go have a read.

2:41PM

Some pre-match entertainment

Have a go at our 'You are the VAR' game. It's tough. Trust me.

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2:33PM

And on the eighth day...

The football schedule is gloriously unrelenting right now, and today the 2018 World Cup continues with France trying to improve on their dreadful opening performance, this time facing fans' second team, Peru.

The French scraped past Australia last week with the help of a VAR-reviewed penalty and a fortunate own goal. They might have won, but the display was extremely unconvincing, and manager Didier Deschamps has since come under heavy pressure to get this talented group of players firing. He is expected to attempt to do so today by changing his lineup, bringing in Olivier Giroud and Blaise Matuidi.

France and Tottenham goalkeeper Hugo Lloris agrees that improvement is necessary.

"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.

Olivier Giroud is expected to start today Credit: AFP

"Tomorrow is going to be a difficult match; if we do not raise our quality level, we are going to have some difficulties."

Today's opponents Peru were, for the most part, the better team in defeat to Denmark on Saturday. Christian Cueva sent a first half penalty over the bar, while Jefferson Farfan and Paolo Guerrero both missed good chances to rescue a point.

Lloris is well aware of the threat their South American opponents pose.

"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."

In a World Cup dominated by teams who think sitting deep is the best route to success , the attacking football Peru played in their first match has meant plenty of fans want to see them succeed. Their play should, at least, help produce a good game today.