Peru suffered their second defeat, and they are eliminated from the World Cup without scoring a goal. There remains a last match against Australia, but the dream is over. It was surely not the expectation of the tens of thousands of Peruvian fans who believed in their team’s strengths in it’s first World Cup appearance since 1982.
This was another story of Peru working hard, passing the ball well with style but rarely threatening. Their best first-half chance came when record-scorer Paolo Guerrero sprinted in front of Samuel Umtiti but Hugo Lloris, on his 100th cap for France, got down well to block the chance.
And that was about it. Really not the volume of chances you expect from a team who arrived in Russia full of ambition, and with good players aiming to make history.
In total Peru had 10 attempts, with only two on target. The other decent effort was a shot from Pedro Aquino: a wonderful curling strike from 30 yards which had beaten Lloris but cannoned off the angle between post and crossbar.
ALL LEADS TO GUERRERO
Peru’s 4-2-3-1 formation is set up to provide Guerrero with as much service as possible from midfield, with Andre Carillo, Christian Cueva and Edison Flores all working to provide him the ball.
When Peru had possession, France restricted service to Guerrero by keeping their centre-backs either side of the forward, with their midfield closing the passing lines.
Gareca likes his team to play on the outside, giving freedom to his full backs to go up to the attack and build-up the play. The presence of Matuidi was thought to stop the advance of Advincula.
Even so, the player from Lobos BUAP had the second best performance of the team, with 1263 points. With a key pass after 92 minutes (which was worth 108 points), it’s an example of how he worked hard until the last minute.
There was another great performance by defensive midfielder Pedro Aquino, with five tackles, three interceptions and many recovered balls. But even with as good a performance as that, he only recovered three balls in France’s half of the field.
And here we can cross everything: the poor work on recovering balls near Lloris’s area made Peru unable to be more dangerous with the ball. Why? Because the line of midfielders lined up to assist Paolo Guerrero did not receive the ball in a dangerous build-up zone.
Taking a look at Peru’s attempts on this map from Opta, there was only two shots inside the area, and none from the six yard box. It is very hard to score if you don’t create chances near the goalkeeper’s house.
That brings us back to Guerrero, the star man from Flamengo who moved a mountain to be liberated by FIFA to play at this World Cup, but until now he hasn’t justified all that effort.
He only picked up 56 points on Twelve’s scale, the third lowest total in the match. A very poor performance in the decisive match of his life. At 34-years-old, Paolo Guerrero is unlikely to play in another major tournament, and it can only be hoped that it is not another 36 years before Peru and their passionate fans return to football’s greatest stage.