France are through to the last 16 of the World Cup after beating Peru 1-0 in Ekatrinburg thanks to a first-half Kylian Mbappe strike.
It was not pretty at times, but Les Bleus got the job done after Didier Deschamps made two changes to the starting XI that beat Australia in the Group C opener last Saturday.
The result and qualification. It might not have been the sexiest win, but France have made it out of the group stage after two matches and will advance in top spot if they can avoid defeat against Denmark. With the pressure well and truly off, Deschamps can now afford to experiment against the Danes — if he chooses to.
The French tactician brought Olivier Giroud and Blaise Matuidi back into the starting XI after benching them against the Aussies and the pair made an immediate difference, with the Chelsea man involved in the only goal of the game.
Otherwise, Paul Pogba was much, much better in midfield and N’Golo Kante shone alongside him as Mbappe grabbed the headlines with his goal.
It was another largely unimaginative showing though, although it did have its moments, and the feeling that Deschamps can get far more out of this squad than he is at present lingers heavily.
Antoine Griezmann was particularly disappointing, while France allowed Peru to dominate them towards the end. It has worked, for now, but Deschamps must find a way to free his players more and sealing qualification might do just that, leading to better displays moving forward.
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