Living legend and greatest soccer player in the history of the sport Diego Armando ‘Manos: The Hands of Fate’ Maradona is aware of Peru’s long World Cup betting odds against France. Therefore, he cracked the following egg of wisdom: “If Peru wants to play in a different way to France, it does not work. The best thing that Latinos can have is to show their own identity, when they are on the court, to touch the subtle ball, something that a European will never be able to do.” Huh? That doesn’t actually make a lick of sense. Maybe something was lost in translation? Nope, it wasn’t.
21 June 2018 20:00 YEKT (UTC+5)
France vs. Peru
Central Stadium, Yekaterinburg
Peru head coach Ricardo Gareca is Maradona’s fellow countryman so perhaps he at least got the gist of it. Meanwhile, the Peruvian Football Federation is shopping for friendly matches with European opponents. “We have many proposals for friendly matches, the professors are evaluating them, there are more proposals than we could imagine, they are against European teams,” Federation president Edwin Oviedo told Peruvian newspaper La República. “There are several proposals, Portugal is one of them, at this point I prefer that the technical command and the management of the teams evaluate and determine which is the most convenient.” Portugal would certainly be a close approximation to what a World Cup betting matchup with France would be like. In the meantime, Oviedo has announced friendly matches against fellow Croatia and Iceland in the United States.
Over in France, head coach Didier Deschamps has more strikers than he knows what to do with. Paris St Germain’s Kylian Mbappe will probably make his World Cup debut while Olivier Giroud also seems to be a lock as does his Arsenal teammate Alexandre Lacazette. On the other hand, Anthony Martial and Kingsley Coman might end up watching the World Cup (but not betting on the World Cup) from their respective living rooms. In the midfield, Chelsea’s N’Golo Kante and Manchester United’s Paul Pogba provide the team’s backbone. Things aren’t as nifty on defense, though. Benjamin Mendy’s injury has cast a pall over that whole area.
“We don’t manage to control the situation throughout a game, and we didn’t manage control throughout the qualifying campaign,” Deschamps said. “We did not really hurt our opponents. It’s important that we learn to do that. We have a lot of ambition but if we look at the other nations, there are two in Europe [Portugal and Germany] who are ahead of us, and one in South America [Brazil].” All things considered, Martial and Coman might miss the World Cup. Peru’s captain and historical leading scorer Paolo Guerrero will definitely miss it. FIFA suspended Guerrero for 12 months after he tested positive for cocaine. Now that’s a situation in which you do want Maradona’s expert advice. According to FIFA, Guerrero failed a drug test following Peru’s 0-0 draw with Argentina in a World Cup qualifier on October 5th. He was suspended provisionally on November 3rd, which now counts as the start date for the 12-month ban. Guerrero has 32 goals in 86 international appearances with Peru, whose World Cup betting odds just got a little longer.