When the World Cup group fixtures were announced, France’s opener against group underdogs Australia was seen as a potential walkover for the star studded Europeans. It didn’t turn out exactly as everybody expected though, but the main thing for Didier Deschamps is that they took all three points in the end.
The Australians played a very deep line and pressed well against their highly paid opponents, and it almost paid dividends. They went into the break goalless before two VAR decisions saw each side score a penalty, and it took until the 80th minute for France to take the lead again. Even this didn’t come from one of their world beating players, instead being a very unfortunate own goal as Behich tried to block a Paul Pogba shot.
It was unfortunate for Australia, but France will now be looking to build on their rather underwhelming start to the FIFA World Cup. They often start out slowly at tournaments and had actually failed to win five of their last seven major tournament openers prior to Saturday’s clash with Australia, but more often than not they put their disappointments behind them and improve as the tournament wears on.
That’s precisely what could happen here against a Peru side who played their first World Cup match since 1982 on Saturday. It didn’t go as well as they would have hoped though, with star striker Paolo Guerrero starting from the bench and seeing his side squander a host of chances in their 1-0 loss to Denmark.
How the South American’s didn’t score is anybody’s guess. They had 17 shots on the Danish goal and some really good chances to get on the scoresheet, but luck was against them and they now face an uphill battle for qualification to the knockout rounds.
We’re expecting them to have a better afternoon in front of goal in Ekaterinburg. The French defence looked remarkably shaky against a modest Australian attack, and they have actually kept a clean sheet in just one of their last seven matches. Meanwhile, Peru have scored in five of their last seven, so we think a Both Teams to Score bet here looks a great choice.
In the end we’re expecting the French contingent to get the ball rolling a bit faster though. France haven’t lost to South American opposition since 1978, and they face a Peru side who haven’t beaten European opposition since the same year. We’re backing a France Win and Both Teams to Score along with a 3-1 correct score predictions.
With VAR playing such a pivotal role so far we’re focusing on set piece takers for our goalscorer predictions. At the time of writing there have already been nine penalties scored in the 2018 World Cup, just five fewer than in the entirety of the 2014 instalment. Antoine Griezmann is France’s designated penalty taker, not to mention the fact that he has scored seven of France’s last 13 goals at major international tournaments, so he looks the perfect choice to back.
France Predicted Lineup: Lloris, Sidibe, Varane, Umtiti, Mendy, Matuidi, Kante, Tolisso, Pogba, Griezmann, Mbappe
Peru Predicted Lineup: Gallese, Advincula, Rodriguez, Ramos, Trauco, Yotun, Tapia, Carrillo, Cueva, Farfan, Guerrero
These two nations have met just once, a friendly at the Parc des Princes in 1982 which Peru won 1-0 .
Djibril Sidibe is still a minor concern for France, but is expected to recover in time to replace the disappointing Benjamin Pavard. Benjamin Mendy is expected to challenge for a starting position in the other full back role, whilst Blaise Matuidi, Olivier Giroud, and Nabil Fekir are pushing for starts too, but the latter two are unlikely to get their wish.
Star striker and captain Paolo Guerrero is expected to come back into the starting lineup after being left out against Denmark, with Jefferson Farfan potentially moving out to a wider position and Edison Flores dropping to the bench.