France booked their place in the last 16 of the World Cup with a battling 1-0 win over Peru on Thursday (June 21). A Kylian Mbappe 34th minute tap-in was the difference in an end-to-end affair that had everything except multiple goals. France dominated for spells but were thrown off their game in the second half by the power and pace of their opponents, who pressed for a crucial goal to no avail. Peru - agonisingly for their fans who might be the most passionate at this World Cup -have been eliminated.
Here's the lowdown for the game:
1. THE GOALS
France 1 (Mbappe 34th) Peru 0
2. THE WOW MOMENT
The Peruvian travelling support. If the competition had been between fans in attendance, Peru would have won handily. Over 40,000 Peruvian fans descended on the Ekaterinburg Arena, with a large number packed into temporary stands outside the stadium and tirelessly cheering on their team. The French sections, on the other hand, were dotted with empty seats and you could have been forgiven for thinking this game was played in South America instead of Europe.
3. THE TALKING POINT
Just how good is this French side? They did not appear to hit full stride offensively but defended stolidly to nullify much of Peru's attacking flair and reducing the South Americans to shooting from distance. While they were forced on the back foot for stretches the French kept their composure and never really looked troubled. Les Bleus may have been lucky to escape with a win against Australia but this was a far more assured performance from them.
4. THE STAR
Kylian Mbappe, who was a constant thorn in Peru's side with his pace, skill and intelligent movement before being substituted in the 75th minute. The PSG forward is still just 19 years old and his goal today made him the youngest Frenchman to score at the World Cup. Assuming he stays healthy, Mbappe could feasibly have three more World Cups left in him starring for Les Bleus and that is a scary prospect for France's rivals.
5. WHAT THE RESULT MEANS
France move to the top of Group C with six points and have secured their place in the last 16. They next meet Denmark (four points), who need at least a draw to progress. Peru take on Australia (one point) with nothing left to play for. The Aussies, though, will have to come out swinging as anything less than a win will see them join Peru on flights home.