Who? France - Peru
Where? Yekaterimburg Arena, Yekaterinburg
When? June 21, 17:00 (CET local time)
In a recent article published by L’equipe, the French national team was analyzed according to the different ties and friendships of its players between them. Surprisingly or not, two of the main men were Antoine Griezmann and Paul Pogba. Both players are very close to many other players in the French squad and especially between each other. For example, on May 29th, Pogba invited Griezmann to a dinner at his mother’s house.
It seems that for many, the quality of the French squad and players such as Pogba and Griezmann by itself is enough to achieve great results this summer in Russia. One common saying is that with this abundance of talent French players do not need a coach, and if they do need one, Deschamps isn’t the right coach. According to some of the critics coach Deschamps doesn’t have enough quality in order to guide his players to success. These critics were even louder after the weak performance of ‘Les Bleus’ against Australia. In fact, the richness of talent in the French squad enables Deschamps to still experiment and probably change formation ahead of France’s game against Peru.
However, no matter what the formation will be, two players who are certain to start in the opening 11 are Pogba and Griezmann. These two superstars have already known ups and downs in their careers, good and bad managers and moments of success alongside moments of despair. But what they probably know is that Deschamps instructions and game plan may be important, but nonetheless the success of the French team relies heavily on their connection and linkage both in matches and after them. The upcoming game against Peru can be their opportunity to demonstrate it.
One of the most significant and moving phenomena of the first week of this world cup is the presence of South American fans in Russia. Thousands of supporters from all over Latin America have crowded Russian cities. Their effect was not overlooked by the players as well. As Miguel Trauco, Peru’s left back stated after Peru’s defeat against Denmark “It is beautiful to see 30 thousand Peruvians here in Russia. We will do everything in order to win for them.”
One important figure that can improve their chances to do so is Paolo Guerrero. After being linked with so many affairs and registered to the squad in the last minute, Peru’s captain and all time goal scoring leader was sitting on the bench in Peru’s first match against Denmark. However, against France, Guerrero is supposed to start and lead his fellow teammates against Griezmann, Pogba and their fellows.
Other than his goal scoring ability, Guerrero brings to the pitch a lot of grit and toughness. As the leader of the South American Qualification campaign in challenges and attacking aerial duels, Guerrero is no stranger to combat and dedication. These qualities, with the support of the Peruvian army of fans, may lead Peru to a surprise against France. You may say Peru fans are dreamers but as this world cup already demonstrates, they are not the only ones.