ISTRA, Russia (Reuters) - France struggled to break the deadlock against Australia in their World Cup opener but they are confident Peru, with their backs to the wall after a loss, will leave them more space in their second Group C game on Thursday.
Les Bleus failed to shine at the Kazan Arena even though they won 2-1 thanks to a goal-line technology-assisted strike by Paul Pogba.
Peru by contrast looked lively against Denmark but lost 1-0, and they will have to take risks if they are to avoid elimination after just two of their three group matches.
“We are ready for Peru, even if we know that it’s going to be a tough game. They are fast and lively,” Benjamin Pavard said at a news conference.
“They will have a huge desire to win after losing their first game so it won’t be easy.”
Peru, however, might leave space to the French attacking trio, who will certainly have more opportunities to use their pace and speed.
“Peru have very technical players and they will be here to play,” said midfielder Blaise Matuidi.
With three points already in the bag, Les Bleus will not necessarily to go on the attack and they could wait to hit Peru on the break.
“Teams supposed to win did not get the expected result,” Matuidi said, referring to champions Germany, five-time winners Brazil, Argentina and Spain failing to win their opening game.
“But we won, even if it was not perfect.”
France, however, have often struggled against South American sides, notably losing 3-2 at home to a gritty Colombia team last March.
“We will need to carefully analyze their way of playing,” warned fullback Pavard, who struggled to find space in the back of the Australia defenders last Saturday.
“We must not feel pressured. Pressure will be on them,” said Pavard.
Writing by Julien Pretot in Rostov-on-Don; Editing by Hugh Lawson