France to include Olivier Giroud, Blaise Matuidi in starting XI vs. Peru
France coach Didier Deschamps will include Olivier Giroud and Blaise Matuidi in his starting XI to face Peru on Thursday in Yekaterinburg.
Both players were part of first team at Tuesday afternoon's closed-door training session and are therefore expected to start, sources have told ESPN.
Giroud had a positive impact coming off the bench in France's 2-1 win over Australia in their Group C opener and physicality will also be useful up front against the Peruvians.
Matuidi's work rate and intensity was also missing in the first game and his activity will be needed against a strong Peru midfield as well.
The pair will replace Ousmane Dembele and Corentin Tolisso, who started against the Aussies but were poor and have now been dropped to the bench.
These should be the only two changes Deschamps will make to his team.
The manager will change from a 4-3-3 to a 4-4-2 formation for the match, with Kylian Mbappe joining the midfield and Giroud and Antoine Griezmann being paired up front.
The pressure will be on, however, as Le Bleus must do better after a disappointing display in the opener.
At the back, both full backs, Benjamin Pavard on the right and Lucas Hernandez on the left, will retain their places, with Samuel Umitit and Raphael Varane in the centre of defence.
Hugo Lloris, who will receive his 100th cap for France, will remain in goal.
Julien Laurens is a London-based French journalist who writes for ESPN FC and Le Parisien. Follow him on Twitter: @LaurensJulien.