Orlando City SC midfielder Yoshi Yotun got another start for Peru in their second World Cup match. But the Lions’ Designated Player and his teammates suffered a hard-fought 1-0 loss to heavyweights France that brought their Russia 2018 hopes to a premature end.
A 34th-minute tap-in by Kylian Mbappe decided the result, with France only looking like their best selves in short bursts and doing just enough to hold off a spirited challenge from their South American adversaries. Portland Timbers winger Andy Polo was an unused substitute for Peru.
Just like their opening match of the tournament, a gut-punch 1-0 defeat to Denmark, La Blanquirroja matched their illustrious European opponents and then some, only to come up short in the finishing department, a weakness that has eliminated them from contention for advancement to the knockout stages.
Yotun started in his usual defensive midfield role alongside Pedro Aquino and completed 90.9 percent of his 33 passes. But with Peru trailing at the half, the Orlando star was the victim of a tactical substitution, as manager Ricardo Gareca elected to replace him and defender Alberto Rodriguez with Jefferson Farfan and Anderson Santamaria to adopt a more attack-minded shape for the second stanza.
Making their first World Cup appearance since 1982, Peru – and their legions of passionate fans – have made a very positive impression in Russia despite their two losses. Their adventure will conclude with their final group-stage game, a meeting with Australia, who need a victory to have any hopes of advancing out of Group C, on Tuesday in Sochi.