YEKATERINBURG, Russia (Reuters) - Thousands of red-shirted Peru supporters streamed through the streets of Yekaterinburg on Thursday, outnumbering France’s by more than seven to one and looking to striker Paolo Guerrero to bring them an upset victory in their World Cup Group C clash.
Having lost 1-0 to Denmark in their first match, Peru’s huge contingent of traveling fans is desperate for a win against one of the tournament favorites.
“It will be 3-0 to Peru because we have Guerrero,” said Robert Amanqui Quispe.
Juan Carlos Rioja, from Lima, said he was confident of victory because of France’s subdued performance in their first match against Australia, even though they won the game 2-1.
“What we expect is obviously to win. We expect France to play similar to their first game, which is not their best performance, so we can make it happen,” he said.
Rainy Yekaterinburg produced one of its many June downpours less than three hours before kickoff, but rival fans engaged in a friendly competition to outchant each other as they headed across town on foot toward the stadium.
A spokeswoman for the city administration, Viktoria Mkrtchyan said fans had been arriving in Yekaterinburg throughout the day and authorities were expecting in total around 15,000 from Peru and 2,000 from France.
That compared with just over 6,500 Uruguayans and some 5,000 Egyptians for the first game in the city last week.
Many Peruvians had arrived without tickets and were expected to pack the fan zone, located away from the stadium in a city park, she said.
Appearing in the World Cup finals for the first time in 36 years, Peru has drawn phenomenal support despite its population of just 31 million and distance from the host country.
FIFA said before the tournament that 43,583 tickets had been sold to Peru fans, making them the seventh largest contingent from any country.
“We are really hopeful,” said Peru fan Ivan Santanyana. “We must win the game today because you know what happened last game. We played really well, we missed a lot of chances and now there is no other thing to do. We need to win this.”
Additional reporting by Natalia Shurmina and Janis Laizans, editing by Ed Osmond