Sluggish French go through but once again fail to hit the heights at the World Cup

Yahoo Sport UK
Job done: France go through as Mbappe scores from clsoe range
Job done: France go through as Mbappe scores from clsoe range

France eased through to the last 16 but questions regarding their legitimacy to be world champions are still to be answered.

Peru for all the noise their 30,000 supporters created threatened little and go home following back-to-back Group C losses.

It took a first-half Kylian Mbappe tap-in to earn the points, and from that moment on the French took their foot off the gas.

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Many will say Didier Deschamps’ lethargic side have done their job, but it was another uninspiring performance void of character and excitement.

His moment: Mbappe becomes France’s youngest ever scorer at a World Cup
His moment: Mbappe becomes France’s youngest ever scorer at a World Cup

Peru could consider themselves well warned when they did find their goal. Not only had Paul Pogba flashed an early effort just wide, but Antoine Griezmann signalled French intent in the opening stages, getting on the end of an Olivier Giroud knock down.

It wasn’t just one-way traffic. Centurion Hugo Lloris stood strong, denying Guerrero with his feet. Peru wouldn’t get many chances, and the striker wasted their best.

He was punished for his profligacy by Mbappe. Sloppy play in the Peruvian midfield was pounced upon as Giroud’s shot was heavily deflected but it couldn’t have landed any better for PSG’s on-loan striker to tap into the net.

World Cup Group C (PA)
World Cup Group C (PA)

It was essentially an away game for the 1998 winners, Peru’s fans taking over the Central Stadium with barely a blue shirt in the crowd.

While first half they impressed in patches, there was a telling absence of rhythm after the re-start.

Creating little but defending well, they would have done little to convince the French public or their hard-to-please press that they are serious contenders.

End of the road: Peru’s Paolo Guerrero is comforted by France’s Blaise Matuidi
End of the road: Peru’s Paolo Guerrero is comforted by France’s Blaise Matuidi

Much-talked about Griezmann is yet to fire, the six goals he scored at Euro 2016 doesn’t look like being repeated.

Pogba again was erratic, the unpredictable Manchester United man was his trademark self, impressive one minute then absent the next.

France go through with a bit to spare but that fact won’t have the knives which have been out for coach Deschamps put away quite yet.


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