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World Cup preview: France vs Peru

France can secure their spot in the World Cup's last 16 when they take on Peru in their second Group C game in Yekaterinburg.

Les Bleus were pushed all the way by Australia in their opening Group C game on Saturday, with an 80th-minute goal from Paul Pogba securing a 2-1 victory.

France can book their place in the knockout stages if they beat Peru on Thursday and Hugo Lloris wants his team-mates to go "beyond their capacity" in Russia.

"There is always pressure in all matches in the World Cup. This is when you must go beyond your capacity as a competitor," he said.

"I have played in a World Cup before so the pressure is felt differently for me, but there is pressure and we are hoping to find a better way of playing. If we don't raise our way of playing, we will have difficulties."

Peru gave a good account of themselves as they returned to World Cup action on Saturday after a 36-year absence, and were narrowly beaten by Denmark.

However, manager Ricardo Gareca has admitted his side are not on the same level as their illustrious opponents but says Peru will not be overrun by France.

"I do not know if we will be on the same level anywhere, to be honest," he said. "But we are continually improving and want to adapt to this high level as soon as possible.

"But something very important is that we stay true to ourselves and our style, and we believe that we can be a tough nut to crack for any team. We will not let France push us around."

Team news

With a less than stellar performance against Australia, Didier Deschamps could make a few changes to his starting line-up on Thursday, with Olivier Giroud pushing for a start in attack. Antoine Griezmann has also been passed as fit after picking up an ankle knock in the opening game.

Peru captain Paolo Guerrero – who had initially been banned from the World Cup for a doping violation – was a substitute against Denmark, but could start in Yekaterinburg.

Opta stats

France and Peru's only previous encounter was a friendly in April 1982. The South American side won 1-0 at the Parc des Princes.

The last South American team to beat France at the World Cup were Argentina in 1978. Since then, France are unbeaten in their last seven World Cup fixtures against CONMEBOL opposition (W3 D4), with three of the last four games ending goalless.

Peru are winless in their last five World Cup encounters against European opposition (D2 L3), their last win coming against Scotland in 1978.

Peru are winless in their last seven World Cup matches (D2 L5).

Peru mustered 17 shots in their opening game against Denmark but still failed to find the net in a 0-1 defeat.

After consecutive defeats vs Mexico and South Africa in 2010, France are unbeaten in their last four group stage games in World Cup finals (W3 D1 L0).

Antoine Griezmann has been directly involved in nine of France's last 13 goals scored in major tournaments (World Cup and European Championships), with seven goals and two assists.

Having become France's youngest ever player in a major tournament in their opening match, Kylian Mbappé is also looking to become their youngest ever goalscorer in a World Cup or European Championships, with David Trezeguet vs Saudi Arabia in 1998 currently holding the record (20y 246d).

 

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