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LIMA, August 16, 2018 (News Wires) - Venezuela has asked Peruvian police to help locate two Venezuelan citizens it says were involved in drone explosions during a speech by President Nicolas Maduro earlier this month, Peru's foreign ministry said in a statement on Wednesday.

Venezuela's government has accused opposition politicians and anti-Maduro activists abroad of scheming to assassinate the leftist leader with explosives-laden drones during a military parade.

On Tuesday, two high-ranking military officers were arrested on suspicion of involvement in the incident. Fourteen people have been arrested, while others remain at large, including in neighbouring Colombia and the United States, according to Venezuelan authorities.

"Today the Peruvian embassy in Caracas received Venezuela's foreign ministry's request to find two Venezuelan citizens sought by that country's authorities for their presumed involvement in what that government calls an 'attack against the President of Venezuela,'" Peru's ministry said.

It added that it had passed the information on to the relevant Peruvian authorities, who would locate the two Venezuelans "in case they have entered Peru."

Maduro's critics say he is using the incident to stifle dissent and cement his power in the oil-rich nation amid the economic crisis that has brought with it hyperinflation and power cuts. He says his government is the victim of an "economic war" led by opposition activists with the help of Washington.

SOCHI, Russia, June 26, 2018 (News Wires) - Already-eliminated Peru ended Australia's hopes of advancing to the knockout round at the World Cup with a 2-0 victory on Tuesday.

The Australians had to beat Peru and hope Denmark lost to France in the other Group C match, but neither result happened. France and Denmark drew 0-0 in Moscow.

Andre Carrillo's 18th-minute goal - a half-volley from inside the area - was Peru's first in a World Cup since 1982, the last time the South Americans played in the tournament. Peru hadn't won a World Cup match since defeating Iran in 1978.

Peru captain Paolo Guerrero, who almost missed the tournament because of a doping suspension, scored the other goal in the 50th with a left-footed strike after getting to a loose ball inside the area.

Australia striker Tim Cahill, a 38-year-old veteran who entered the match in the second half, had a chance to become only the fifth player to score in four World Cups, joining Pele, Uwe Seeler, Miroslav Klose and Cristiano Ronaldo. But he had few chances after entering the match in the 53rd minute.

Australia needed the victory to reach the round of 16 for the first time since 2006 but it had a slow start at Fisht Stadium, unable to get near the opposing area. The Peruvians, boosted by a loud crowd that heavily outnumbered the Aussies, took advantage of their chances and gave their team an honorable finish after two opening losses.

The whole squad saluted the boisterous Peruvian fans after the match, spending several moments near their sections in the stands.

Australia's best chance to score came in the 27th minute when Tom Rogic made a run through the Peru defense and had his shot saved by goalkeeper Pedro Gallese.

Peru almost added its third goal when Edison Flores' shot hit the post following a fast breakaway.

The victory allowed Peru to move into third place in the group, finishing with four points. The Australians ended up with one point after losing 2-1 to France and drawing 1-1 with Denmark.

Australia leaves consoled by decent performances even though it didn't get the points to show for it. It played relatively well in the opener against the French and had chances to get more than a draw against Denmark.

Peru had deserved more in its first two games, when it failed to capitalize on numerous scoring chances, including a missed penalty by Christian Cueva against Denmark.

It had been a long time before Peru had found the net in a World Cup. The last time was in its second match of the 1982 tournament, a 1-1 draw against Italy.

The team also scored in a 5-1 loss to Poland that year. It's last World Cup victory was a 4-1 result against Iran in the first round of the 1978 tournament in Argentina.

Scoring hasn't been easy for Australia at World Cups recently, with its last three goals in the tournament coming from penalty kicks, including two from captain Mile Jedinak in Russia.

Australia is only the second team in World Cup history to score three consecutive goals from the penalty spot. Ghana did it from 2006-2010.

 

SOCHI, Russia, June 24, 2018 (News Wires) - Needing a win and plenty of goals to stay alive at the World Cup, Australia could finally call upon veteran Tim Cahill.

The 38-year-old striker has a chance to make his debut in Russia on Tuesday when Australia plays Peru.

The Socceroos need to beat already-eliminated Peru and hope France defeats Denmark in the other Group C match. If that happens, goal differential would determine which team moves on to the next round along with the French.

Cahill knows a thing or two about scoring in soccer's showcase event. He can become only the fifth player to score in four World Cups, joining Cristiano Ronaldo, Pele, Miroslav Klose and Uwe Seeler.

A spot in the Australia attack opened when forward Andrew Nabbout dislocated his shoulder in the 1-1 draw against Denmark. Tomi Juric and Jamie Maclaren are the other two players hoping to make it to the starting lineup in Sochi.

YEKATERINBURG, June 21, 2018 (News Wires) - France moved back above Denmark to the top of Group C with an unconvincing 1-0 win over Peru.

After their fortuitous 2-1 win over Australia in the opening game, France had hoped to make a statement in Ekaterinburg but struggled to impress once again.

Their winning goal came when Kylian Mbappé tapped in Olivier Giroud’s deflected shot, as the Paris Saint-Germain forward became the youngest Frenchman to score at a World Cup finals.

Peru pushed for an equaliser late on but ultimately could do little to avoid slipping to a second consecutive 1-0 defeat.

YEKATERINBURG, June 21, 2018 (News Wires) - Thousands of red-shirted Peru supporters streamed through the streets of Yekaterinburg on Thursday, outnumbering France's by more than seven to one and looking to striker Paolo Guerrero to bring them an upset victory in their World Cup Group C clash.

Having lost 1-0 to Denmark in their first match, Peru's huge contingent of travelling fans is desperate for a win against one of the tournament favourites.

"It will be 3-0 to Peru because we have Guerrero," said Robert Amanqui Quispe.

Juan Carlos Rioja, from Lima, said he was confident of victory because of France's subdued performance in their first match against Australia, even though they won the game 2-1.

"What we expect is obviously to win. We expect France to play similar to their first game, which is not their best performance, so we can make it happen," he said.

Rainy Yekaterinburg produced one of its many June downpours less than three hours before kickoff, but rival fans engaged in a friendly competition to outchant each other as they headed across town on foot towards the stadium.

A spokeswoman for the city administration, Viktoria Mkrtchyan said fans had been arriving in Yekaterinburg throughout the day and authorities were expecting in total around 15 000 from Peru and 2 000 from France.

That compared with just over 6 500 Uruguayans and some 5 000 Egyptians for the first game in the city last week.

Many Peruvians had arrived without tickets and were expected to pack the fan zone, located away from the stadium in a city park, she said.

Appearing in the World Cup finals for the first time in 36 years, Peru has drawn phenomenal support despite its population of just 31 million and distance from the host country.

Fifa said before the tournament that 43 583 tickets had been sold to Peru fans, making them the seventh largest contingent from any country.

"We are really hopeful," said Peru fan Ivan Santanyana. "We must win the game today because you know what happened last game. We played really well, we missed a lot of chances and now there is no other thing to do. We need to win this."

YEKATERINBURG, Russia, June 19, 2018 (News Wires) - The pre-tournament favorites at this World Cup have struggled so far. France is no exception - but at least it has a win. Les Bleus, who are seventh in the FIFA world rankings, got past Australia 2-1 in their opener despite a mostly lackluster effort from their trio of elite strikers.

France benefited from some good fortune. Its first goal came after a penalty called with the aid of video review. Then it scored again on a fluky goal that was found by goal-line technology to have crossed the line and was later determined to have been last touched by an Australian player.

France was one of only two teams ranked in FIFA's top seven to win its opening match. The other was Belgium.

A win Thursday night against Peru at Yekaterinburg Arena would put France in position to wrap up a second consecutive appearance in the round of 16.

The Peruvians held a 17-10 advantage in shots on goal but failed to capitalize on their chances during a 1-0 loss to Denmark . Peru's task could be even harder against Group C favorite France, which it will be facing for the first time in World Cup play.

The only previous meeting between the teams was a 1982 friendly that Peru won 1-0.

France's top attackers - Kylian Mbappe, Antoine Griezmann and Ousmane Dembele - were underwhelming against Australia.

France outshot its opponent 12-6. Griezmann had five of those attempts, Mbappe had one and Dembele played 70 minutes without a shot on goal. Griezmann's goal came after a penalty, the byproduct of a video assistant referee review of a foul on the sideline.

The other goal was initially credited to Paul Pogba before a panel of former coaches and players determined it actually came off a touch by Australia's Aziz Behich.

France can't count on such good fortune against a disciplined Peru defense, and coach Didier Deschamps didn't rule out tweaking his lineup.

"I will have 11 (players) against Peru," Deschamps said. "It may be the same, it may be different ones, but those three attacking players played as they should play. I have a good group. Each of them has his say among the 23 players."

One of the key questions for Peru will be how coach Ricardo Gareca uses the country's all-time leading scorer, Paolo Guerrero.

After having a doping ban lifted just before the start of the tournament, the 34-year-old striker came on as a substitute against Denmark and played well in about 30 minutes of action. He almost scored twice, the last time using his unique skill set to nearly create what would have been an equalizing goal.

It's the kind of effort that could prompt Gareca to return Guerrero to a starting role for this match, which will determine whether Peru has a chance of advancing to the second round for the first time since 1978.

Peru brought one of the largest contingents of fans to Russia. Tens of thousands are following the Incas during their first World Cup appearance in 36 years.

They were loud throughout Peru's opener at Mordovia Arena in Saransk, at times drowning out their Danish counterparts.

That support could be a factor in trying to rattle France's stars. Deschamps said the fans reminded him of Colombia's supporters during friendly in Paris that Colombia won 3-2.

"Thirty thousand Peruvians came to Moscow, so they are very excited and enthusiastic," Deschamps said. "We played Colombia in March and we saw that they are not only aggressive, but they have very good players."

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