Peru vs. France, 11 a.m. ET, Fox
- France -165
- Peru +549
- Draw +312
Bet to Watch:
Both Teams To Score +108 (Bookmaker)
While the group openers for both France and Peru ended as the odds forecasted, in reality the result in both matches was somewhat unjustified, or at least highly dependent on luck.
Les Bleus were perhaps the better side in their victory over Australia but remained unconvincing, and reports suggest that a change in both formation and personnel are in the cards. Didier Deschamps’ men required a VAR-assisted penalty and a freak own goal to win 2-1 and looked short of how a pre-tournament favorite should at either end of the pitch.
The coach is set to opt for experience against a side that should pose more problems than the Socceroos, with Blaise Matuidi and Olivier Giroud coming in for Corentin Tolisso and Ousmane Dembele, respectively. The tactic will likely switch from an open and expansive 4-3-3 that offered little protection to two inexperienced fullbacks to a more regimented 4-2-3-1 in order to match up with their opponents this Thursday.
Peru, after all, are a side that look to utilize swift counter attacks when possible and exploit any over-eagerness from the opposition. They could consider themselves unfortunate not to pick up all three points against Denmark — let alone lose the game — but Los Incas were wasteful with their 17 attempts, including a wayward spot-kick from Christian Cueva.
The return, then, of captain and all-time top scorer Paolo Guerrero should give Ricardo Gareca’s side more of a cutting edge, not to mention a real physical presence in the box, but France’s ability to launch breaks of their own will still be a concern. The goal that Denmark scored against the South Americans was a well-constructed counter after all, so Peru are certainly vulnerable in that regard, which should lead to an entertaining game.
The influence of the earlier kickoff between Denmark and Australia in Group C can’t be underestimated either, with a win for the latter relieving a huge amount of pressure from the underdogs in this one. If the Danes earn so much as a point, however, Peru know that they will need to at least match that and while they really know only one way to play anyway, it could ensure that this game is extremely open.
The attacks for both sides are certainly — on paper at least — stronger than their defenses, and while I’d find it difficult to back Peru outright, their international know-how up against an inexperienced back four for France should result in goals at both ends.