ISTRA, Russia (Reuters) - France might not have impressed in their first two World Cup matches, but they have already secured their last-16 spot and will use their last Group C game against Denmark to improve before the knockout phase.
Les Bleus needed a penalty, given by the video assistant referee, and goal-line technology to beat Australia 2-1 in their opening game and they were shaken up by Peru on Thursday but won 1-0 thanks to a Kylian Mbappe goal.
They need to avoid defeat against Denmark on Tuesday to top the group.
With Argentina struggling in Group D, Les Bleus could face Jorge Sampaoli’s side in the last 16, but winning against Denmark is their only priority.
“Our mindset is to win this game, to finish what we’ve started, to improve,” said striker Olivier Giroud, whose deflected shot led to Mbappe’s goal against Peru.
Giroud believes France have to be more efficient, offensively and defensively, after Les Bleus failed to sparkle in their first two matches.
“We need to be more efficient in attack, and in defense. We have to improve and find that ‘killer instinct’.
“But let’s not forget that Peru were a very good team, who had conceded only three goals in their last matches, who beat Croatia, Uruguay, Iceland. We suffered but to me, 1-0 is the best possible result.”
After their opening game, some France players had questioned Deschamps’s tactics, saying they had no clear idea of what they were supposed to do, but the game plan appeared to be clearer against Peru as Les Bleus defended well.
“With Antoine Griezmann, we had been tasked to block the Peru center backs, with Antoine also having to be in the zone of their number 6,” Giroud explained.
“Everything was very clear and well oiled, we had worked on it at training and were ready to be aggressive and determined, which is paramount in modern football.”
France know that they can rely on midfielder N’Golo Kante, who was pivotal against Peru, winning 13 tackles and creating space for his team mates.
“He’s got 15 lungs. Football is so much easier with players like him,” said Paul Pogba.
Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by Christian Radnedge