France might not have been impressive in their opening match of the Fifa World Cup 2018, but they were one of the very few pre-tournament favourites to come away with a positive result. And in the World Cup, it is just as much about getting the three points as it is putting in a strong performance.

It wasn't for the lack of trying that France struggled to break down Australia, it just seemed like the team weren't properly balanced. On paper, a front three of Kylian Mbappe, Ousmane Dembele and Antoine Griezmann looks mouth-watering, but for it to work, you need to play the right opposition, maybe the kind that you can counter-attack against.

That wasn't the case against the Socceroos, with France, as a result, struggling to find the space required to fashion chances.

Didier Deschamps, recognising that problem, is likely to bring Olivier Giroud, the former Arsenal and current Chelsea striker, back into the starting XI.

Giroud is one of Deschamps' favourite players, mainly because he gives you something not too many others in the France squad can – a physical presence, ability to hold up the ball and bring in the wider players into the game in situations where they can really threaten the defence.

If Giroud, as expected, does come in, then Dembele looks like the man making way, with Mbappe shifted to one of the wide areas.

The midfield three of N'Golo Kante, Blaise Matuidi and Paul Pogba is expected to remain the same, but the onus, as it always seems to be, remains on the latter to show what he can do.

Such is the talent that Pogba has, it becomes frustrating when he blows hot and cold so often. Pogba plays in the formation he likes for France, and against Peru he will be keen to show how effective he can be.

Effectiveness was the issue for Peru in their last game, failing to come up with a single point, despite dominating Denmark for large periods. Against France it will be difficult to carve out as many chances as they did against the Danes, but Peru need to keep that positive mindset going once more and hope that this time it pays dividends.

Olivier Giroud Didier Deschamps France
Olivier Giroud is set to return to the starting XI as Didier Deschamps ponders over changes to the lineupLaurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Team news:


No real worries for France, which means Deschamps has to choose the formation and strategy he is going to go with for this Fifa World Cup 2018 Group C match. It looks like Giroud is going to play from the start, so it will be interesting to see just how influential Griezmann and Mbappe are in this game, because, against Australia, try as they might, they just couldn't find their rhythm.


The skipper and main man Paolo Guerrero started the opening game on the bench, but, after a return from a drug ban, the manager Ricardo Gareca is hopeful the striker will be ready to start.

Confirmed starting XI:

France: Hugo Lloris; Benjamin Pavard, Raphael Varane, Samuel Umtiti, Lucas Hernandez; Paul Pogba, N'Golo Kante, Blaise Matuidi; Kylian Mbappe, Olivier Giroud, Antoine Griezmann.

Peru: Pedro Gallese; Luis Advincula, Christian Ramos, Alberto Rodriguez, Miguel Trauco; Pedro Aquino, Yoshimar Yotun; Andre Carrillo, Christian Cueva, Edison Flores; Paolo Guerrero.