Soccer and sports in general can be cruel at times – and it certainly was for the Peruvians in their opening match at Russia 2018.
Peru absolutely dominated Denmark, but in the end all of their chances and opportunities and possession went for naught. They lost a hard-fought 1-0 game, which included themselves missing a penalty and countless other goal-line scrambles. It was a bitter defeat and makes their road much harder, but they did show to the rest of their Group C combatants that they’re not a side to take lightly.
France meanwhile were nowhere near as dominant. And though many figured this group would be France’s easily, Peru seemed to be the best of the bunch – at least they played like it. France were fortunate to escape a tough Australia team with a 2-1 victory. Many of my initial concerns on the talented French side manifested itself in game on, and the unfortunate thing with short tournaments is that there is very little time to make big changes or turn things around between matches. Manager Didier Deschamps and all of his tinkering/lineup adjustments seems to have blown up in his face – and though they again enter as heavy favorites, a motivated and talented Peru side are ready to secure a result.
This game should make for thrilling television. It features a ton of skill and speed, and you should see a Peru squad that will be even more attack-minded than they were in game one against Denmark. The Peruvians need a result here and you have to believe they have the confidence they can get one against France. Read on below for a tactical preview of this encounter, as well as an official betting selection for this pivotal Group C showdown.
France vs. Peru Betting Odds:
Over 2.5 (+110)
Under 2.5 (-130)
France vs. Peru Pick:
This should be a thrilling match at the Ekaterinburg Arena on Thursday afternoon. These are two skilled, fast, and attack-oriented teams and I’m thinking we see a lot of talent on display, and hopefully some memorable goals (no, I’m not talking about the all-too-familiar VAR -assisted penalty shot!)
France looked their typical sluggish selves in their opening match vs. Australia. Despite the talent within this side, it’s clear that something is truly preventing them from meshing as a cohesive unit and playing excellent football. They’re clearly capable of much more, but this crisis in identity cannot be solved overnight.
Peru is a hungry South American side and they await desperately seeking a result after a cruel loss to Denmark on the weekend. They showed a ton of promise, and did pretty much everything right except for find that finishing touch in the attacking third. One easy adjustment for the Peruvians will be to start their regular captain and leading scorer Paolo Guerrero. He came off the bench in their first match, but was instantly a threat everytime he touched the ball against the Danes. Look for him to potentially find the back of the net against Les Bleus.
Look for the unheralded midfield pairing of Renato Tapia and Yoshimar Yotun to be tasked with the tough job of stifling France’s creativity and space in the middle of the pitch. Those two Peruvians did an exemplary job of limiting Christian Eriksen, and similar efforts should frustrate an out-of-sync French squad. Up front, their pace with Christian Cueva and Jefferson Farfan is electric. They’re great dribblers and creators and will be able to link well with Guerrero. The French back-line should be pretty solid, but Peru’s pace can create trouble.
Before the tournament I was leaning to France in this match-up but I think Peru are very underrated entering this crucial match. The French meanwhile are clearly not linking well as a unit, and despite all of their impressive attacking quality – failed to generate all that much against an Aussie team that frustrated them with great team defense and a high-press. Guess what? That’s exactly what Peru’s manager Ricardo Gareca has employed and will employ against France to force turnovers and clog up the midfield. When Peru does seek out a turnover, they’ll counter with excellent team speed and flair going forward. Peru needs a result and opportunities will be there throughout.
In the end, I think the best recommended wager would be on Peru in some form. I do think there will be goals in this match as there’s just too much talent on the pitch for there not to be. But I also foresee Peru to take the attack to France for many stretches of the match. This game means a lot more to the Peruvians given their dire points situation, and know they need at least a point, if not three. Right now, Peru +1 (-130) is readily available at many books. This gives you many outs – including a Peru win, draw, or a push on Peru losing by one. Peru will go for it on Thursday afternoon in Russia – buckle up!
MY PICK = Peru +1 (-130)