PSG superstar Kylian Mbappé was pleased and proud after helping France back from 2-0 down to beat Belgium 3-2 and book a place in the inaugural UEFA Nations League final with a much-improved second -half performance in Turin on Thursday night.
Both France and Belgium lined up in 3-4-3 formations at kick-off in their Nations League semi-final at Juventus Stadium in Turin on Thursday, but it was the Red Devils of Belgium who took the upper hand in the first half, superb strikes from former Monaco man Yannick Carrasco (37') and Chelsea's Romelu Lukaku (41') putting Roberto Martinez's side well in front at the break.
"We were 2-0 down, and we were in a bad way but we didn't give up at half-time. We had a few words with each other and we came back with real intentions," Mbappé told the FFF. "We played higher up the pitch. We played in their half. We were better at passing the ball. We created chances. That gave us hope. In the end, it was completely crazy."
Indeed, it was a with real bite that Les Bleus came back for the second half, Karim Benzema latching onto Mbappé's ball in the area and somehow getting the better of four Belgian defenders to carve out an angled finish that beat Thibault Courtois to make it 2-1 (62').
Minutes later, VAR confirmed that former Monaco man Youri Tielemans had fouled Antoine Griezmann in the area and Mbappé stepped up to the spot, banishing the demons of his fateful Euro 2020 round of 16 penalty miss against Switzerland with a near-unbeatable shot high to Courtois' left to leave the sides level (69').
What followed was nothing short of stupendous as France captain Hugo Lloris only just managed to tip a Kevin De Bruyne missile over the bar (73') before Courtois returned the favour in front of Monaco's Aurélien Tchouaméni (79').
Chances continued to fall for both sides as the minutes ticked down, with Mbappé shooting just wide (86'), Lukaku seeing his second ruled out for off-side (87') and Paul Pogba bouncing a wild free-kick off the cross-bar (90'), but just as it seemed the match would go to extra-time, France debutant Theo Hernandez slamming home a Benjamin Pavard cut-back to send Les Bleus through to Sunday's showpiece final.
"I love playing matches like this. They are pressure matches, that everyone watches, that everyone wants to play," continued Mbappé, pleased to have marked his 50th France cap with a goal - at the tender age of 22. "It has all gone by really quickly!"
France now get set take on Spain, who beat Italy in the other semi-final, in the UEFA Nations League final at the Stadio Giuseppe-Meazza in San Siro, Milan, on Sunday evening.