French teenage sensation Kylian Mbappe became his country’s youngest-ever goalscorer at the FIFA World Cup as his 34th-minute strike was the difference in the Les Blues’ Group C tie against Peru at the Ekaterinburg Arena on Thursday night.
After edging Australia somewhat fortuitously, 2-1 in their opener, on the weekend, Didier Deschamps’ side knew a win would ensure their passage to the next round, especially after Denmark’s 1-1 draw with the Socceroos earlier in the day.
With Ousmane Dembele dropped to the bench in favour of the burly Olivier Giroud, the 1998 winners lost a bit of fluency in attack, despite easily winning the possession battle.
Peru, hitting their fancied opponents on the counter, were out of luck for the second game in a row for their biggest chance of the first-half went straight into Hugo Lloris’ hands.
Les Blues on the other hand, were clearly favoured by Lady Luck as Giroud’s heavily deflected shot seemed to be goalbound before the 19-year-old Mbappe made sure of the goal by tapping into an empty net.
The second-half saw a marked improvement from the South Americans and they did cause France’s defence all sorts of problems, but again the finishing touches were missing.
Dembele’s introduction injected some pace into the French attack as he and Mbappe looked to stretch Peru on the wings, but the best chance post the interval undoubtedly fell to Peru.
There seemed to be no real danger as a ball found its way to Pedro Aquino but the midfielder let fly first time with a vicious outer that would have made Roberto Carlos proud. Lloris scrambled, but he was nowhere near the ball and thankfully for France, the ball cannoned off the L-bar.
While France can boast a perfect record from two games, unlike most of the other favourites, they have left a lot to be desired, especially in the attacking department.
They now play Denmark in what just might be a clash which decides the winner of Group D on June 26.