Group C Standings
The standings for matchday 1 in Group C are pictured above. France sits atop currently, which upon hearing will bare no surprises, however, it may not fully represent their performance. France was able to escape with 3 points against Australia with Denmark able to do the same against Peru. France leads currently on goals scored.
France vs Australia
Again, the scoreline may not shock many in this match but the way it unfolded tells somewhat of a different story. The statistics of the match reflect the close nature of the day, 51%-49% possession, 485 pass attempts with 87% accuracy to 391 pass attempts with 85% accuracy, the major differences are in shots 13 to 4 and corners 5 to 1. The largely tepid 1st half was a more of a fair representation of this match as a whole, with the only real clear stand out moment to comment on was Lloris making a solid save. However, the 2nd half had more tales to tell, specifically involving the added refereeing technology. In the 55th min, Griezmann was taken down in the box with a challenge that lead to the first on field VAR given penalty. On the ensuing PK France went up 1-0 via Griezmann. Then in the 60th min Umtiti pulled out an old trick in his play book from this season with Barcelona, and while defending a cross extended his hand to the incoming ball. The ensuing PK was put home by the Aussie captain Jedinak to even the score at 1-1. Then in the 80th min a fluke defelction on Pogba’s touch as he advanced into the Aussie box saw the ball loop on the bottom of the crossbar and narrowly crossed the line. The goal needed to be confirmed by the newly added goalline technology, because to the naked eye it was near impossible to definitively see the ball completely over the line. In the end France was able to come away with the win 2-1, though no real objections would have been raised if the match ended 1-1. France plays Peru next before finishing against Denmark, the second match will set the tone for France going forward and is a must watch for in terms of their title chances. As for Australia, they line up against Denmark before finishing with Peru, the Aussies face an up hill battle from here and must be near perfect to have a shot at advancing.
Peru vs Denmark
While the scoreline is a low one, this match was an edge of your seat rollercoaster from the get go. Peru had a lot to prove after a 36 year absence from the World Cup and Denmark perhaps underestimated the tenacious & quick Peruvians. The match was back and forth as demonstrated by most of the stats, 52% to 48% possession, 394 pass attempts with 85% accuracy to 342 pass attempts with 82% accuracy, 3 to 7 corners, 18 to 10 shots. As you can tell from those stat lines the match provided each team with plenty of oppurtunities. At the end of the 1st half, Poulsen left a leg dragging behind his challenge on Cueva which clipped the Peruvian in the box. VAR was needed to correct the referee’s call on the field, then Cueva proceeded to blast the PK over the bar to finish the half. The 2nd half held more of the same back and forth play. Peru forced Schmeichel in 6 total saves in the match, many of them outstanding, to hold the match in the balance. Somewhat against the run of play, in the 59th min, Eriksen who otherwise had a quiet night, slipped the ball to Poulsen streaking into the box, who slotted the ball past the advancing keeper. Peru’s talisman Guerrero was introduced in the 62nd min to break the luck Peru was having in front of goal. However he was unable to do so, having a header saved and missing a backheel. In the end Schmeichel’s heroics were enough to provide the Danes with all 3 points. Denmark faces Australia beofre their big finish against France, the Danes will hope to grab atleast another point in their next 2 matches. Peru with face a stiff challenge in France next before their showdown with Australia to finsh their group phase, Peru will hope to repllicate the furious tenacity they showed against Denmark and a bit of luck to avoid going home early.