Peru won't be bullied by France and other talking points ahead of World Cup Group C clash

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France will be hoping to make it two wins in two when they take on Peru in a World Cup Group C clash.

Les Bleus didn’t exactly set the stage alight with their performance against Australia and will hope to put in a more dominant display.

Here are a few talking points ahead of the encounter.

LACKING DIRECTION

France avoided the disastrous start that befell so many of the big hitters at this World Cup and sit on top of Group C. However, their 2-1 win over Australia was anything but convincing. Didier Deschamps has failed to implement a fundamental style of play and identity for his side.

After predominantly opting for an underwhelming 4-4-2 formation over the last couple of years, he belatedly turned to a 4-3-1-2 system, often resembling a 4-3-3, with Antoine Griezmann in a more withdrawn role behind two wide forwards in Ousmane Dembele and Kylian Mbappe.

While Deschamps should at least be credited for attempting to be more attack-minded as the inclusion of that front three and Corentin Tolisso in Blaise Matuidi’s stead would suggest, it hasn’t produced fluid football.

Tolisso in particular looked lost in Les Bleus’ tournament opener. He didn’t seem to know exactly what his role was and the same could be said of several other players who started the encounter, making for a disjointed display. Given that Deschamps has been in charge since 2012, there can be no excuse for his team’s lack of direction.

The 49-year-old has singled out Griezmann – who scored from the spot against Australia – to “do more”. But if England’s Golden Generation has taught us anything, it’s that you can’t field your best players and simply expect them to deliver results when there are serious flaws in the system or the execution of it.

Deschamps’ side lacks an identity.

PERU WON’T BE BULLIED

Peru coach Ricardo Gareca is adamant that his side will not be bullied by overwhelming favourites France in their Group C clash.

Following their impressive display against Denmark, despite losing 1-0, many will be inclined to believe the 60-year-old.

“This involves playing to our style and not letting France push us around. We are obviously not going to be able to control France all the time but we want to develop our style of play. Our intention is to win,” he said at a press conference.

While Peru may be well short of the quality France possess, they seem determined not to exit their first World Cup campaign in 36 years with a whimper.

They had 17 shots and six on target to Denmark’s 10 and three in the first round and the greater share of possession. Had Christian Cueva not skied his penalty in the first half, it could’ve been a different story for Peru. France will have to be on their guard.

Ricardo Gareca.

Ricardo Gareca.

SHORT OF LEADERSHIP

One of the reasons Deschamps called upon Griezmann to be more influential following the game against Australia is because he’s one of the few leaders in the team.

“Antoine is Antoine: he is our attacking leader and he will remain our leader of attack,” Deschamps said.

He’s not wrong. France have a wealth of talent at their disposal but do seem to have a dearth of strong characters capable of providing leadership on the pitch.

For all the ability that Dembele and Mbappe are blessed with, they did seem to require guidance in the first game. Both youngsters repeatedly attempted to cut inside, unwittingly narrowing the play, stifling their own midfield players and making it easier for Australia to contend with.

The more mature Nabil Fekir was far more decisive with his efforts when he came on for Dembele, linking up well with Paul Pogba.

Meanwhile, Samuel Umtiti posted a picture of his handball incident on his Instagram story – which he has since deleted – with a basketball hoop inserted as if he were going for a dunk. Making light of what could’ve been a costly error speaks volumes of the level of immaturity several of France’s key players are guilty of.

France have a dearth of leadership.

France have a dearth of leadership.

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Uruguay flatter to deceive again as they edge past Saudi Arabia 1-0 at the World Cup

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Uruguay booked their place in the knockout stages of the 2018 World Cup with a stoic and workmanlike 1-0 victory over resurgent Saudi Arabia.

Luis Suarez, so ineffective as La Celeste scraped a late 1-0 win in their opener against Egypt, leapt into life at the Rostov Arena, converting Carlos Sanchez’s first-half corner into an empty net after Mohammed Al Owais came for the cross through a crowd of bodies and soon regretted his decision.

Much like in their opening game it was a tense affair against a vastly improved Saudi side, who huffed and puffed but simply didn’t have the quality required to equalise and keep their hopes of progression alive.

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Player ratings as Jose Gimenez and Diego Godin the bedrocks of a stoic Uruguay win over Saudi Arabia

Matt Jones 20/06/2018
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Uruguay booked their place in the knockout stages of the 2018 World Cup with a stoic and workmanlike 1-0 victory over resurgent Saudi Arabia.

Luis Suarez, so ineffective as La Celeste scraped a late 1-0 win in their opener against Egypt, leapt into life at the Rostov Arena, converting Carlos Sanchez’s first-half corner into an empty net after Mohammed Al Owais came for the cross through a crowd of bodies and soon regretted his decision.

Much like in their opening game it was a tense affair against a vastly improved Saudi side, who huffed and puffed but simply didn’t have the quality required to equalise and keep their hopes of progression alive.

Here, we rate the Uruguay players:

URUGUAY (4-4-2)

Fernando Muslera – 6:

Though Saudi Arabia asked plenty of questions of the Uruguay defence, none were directed at their veteran custodian, who had a very easy afternoon.

Guillermo Varela – 4:

Regularly caught out as an improved Saudi showed up. Had difficulty dealing with the marauding Al Shahrani.

Jose Gimenez – 8:

What better mentor to learn under than Diego Godin? Completed 100 per cent of his 33 passes in the first half.

Diego Godin – 8:

A typical performance from the battle-hardened veteran. Gnawed at Saudi’s attackers and also carried a threat in the attacking third.

Martin Caceres – 6:

Has spent the latter part of his career mainly broken. But held a rigid Uruguay back four together while opposite full-back Varela floundered.

Carlos Sanchez – 7:

A relentless worker who was always on offer down the right for La Celeste. Provided the assist for Suarez’s opener. Wastfully headed Cavani’s perfect cross over.

Matias Vecino – 6:

A true talent but struggled to really assert himself on proceedings. Subbed off with an hour gone as Tabarez shuffed his pack.

Rodrigo Bentancur – 6:

Had the most touches of any Uruguay player on the pitch as he continually looked to get attacking team-mates into prime positions.

Cristian Rodriguez – 6:

The wily veteran was alert defensively, with two interceptions, and energetic, but pass completion off 55 per cent was woeful. Dispossessed twice.

Luis Suarez – 7:

Ineffectual in the Egypt win, he was back to scoring ways, also dragging the Saudi defence this way and that. First Uruguayan to score at three World Cups and netted the crucial goal on his 100th cap.

Edinson Cavani – 7:

Balooned an early chance horribly over. Didn’t have much of a sniff of goal after that but held the ball up brilliantly and worked like a dog.

SUBS:

Diego Laxalt – 6:

Finding his way in at international level. Was neat and tidy.

Lucas Torreira – 7:

The Arsenal target’s soon to be club boss Unai Emery will be buoyed by the most interceptions of any Uruguayan (three) despite being on the field just 31 minutes.

Nahitan Nandez N/A

A late introduction, precious little time to make an impact.

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