Peru’s 36-year wait for a World Cup ended in successive 0-1 defeats, this time to France, who sealed a catchy victory at the Ekaterinburg Arena on Thursday. Kylian Mbappe scored the only goal, becoming at 19-years of age, the youngest Frenchman to score at any major competition. His goal also carried France into last 16 with a game in hand.
It was the same familiar story for ‘Los Incas‘, whose last victory at the World Cup came against Iran in 1978 and since then they have lost six out of eight matches, scoring just twice while conceding 18. In the two matches that they have played against Denmark and France this edition, Peru have shot 27 times, but are yet to score once.
They had however begun well and although it was France who came close with half-chances early, the first opportunity of any real quality came to Peru when Christian Cueva swung a teasing ball into Paolo Guerrero’s path in the 31st minute. The striker beat Raphael Varane with his first touch but then shot straight at goalkeeper Hugo Lloris who saved, unperturbed.
The Peru legend and their all-time leading goalscorer, Guerrero had another chance to set things right from a free-kick in the 87th minute, but the Flamengo star like he had been doing fhe entire evening hit another timid effort straight at Lloris.
France on the other, failed to muster a single shot on target in the second-half, after their four in the first. But they had secured a win with Mbappe netting his first World Cup goal and perhaps the easiest. Snatching a loose ball from Peru-once again Guerrero was the culprit-midfielder Paul Pogba set Oliver Giroud with a sublime pass in the 34th minute, whose first-time shot took a deflection off Alberto Rodriguez reaching the PSG youngstar on the rebound, who had to simply tap-in. The victory also meant France sailed into the round of 16, with a game to spare.
The goal after a quiet evening, suddenly awoke France and they should have added a second but both Antoine Griezmann and Lucas Hernandez, hit straight at custodian Pedro Gallese from their attempts.
But after dominating the proceeding despite going behind, again it was Peru who came close five minutes into the second-half when Pedro Aquino’s curled shot from outside the box beat Lloris but struck the post before going out of play. By the end it was the same familiar story, with ‘Los Incas‘ unable to transform their opportunities into goals.
They now play Australia five days later, the ‘Socceroos‘ still having a slim chance but Peru will head back home.