Les Bleus

Mbappé fires France into last 16, pulls up on Zidane

Mbappé fires France into last 16, pulls up on Zidane

Les Bleus
Publish on 11/27 at 10:00 - S. WILLIS


Thanks to a decisive brace in the 2-1 win over Denmark that assured Les Bleus a spot in the 2022 World Cup's last 16, Kylian Mbappé went level with France legend Zinedine Zidane on 31 career goals for en Bleu. Félicitations!

Following the rousing 2-1 win, which saw Paris Saint-Germain superstar Kylian Mbappé bag a splendid brace - including the winner in the 86th minute after Andreas Christensen (68') had cancelled out the Boy from Bondy's opener (61') - Les Bleus are assured of a place in the tournament's knockout rounds.

Played in his preferred position on the left of the attack in a 4-3-3, Mbappé was unplayable in the second half as he bagged his 30th and 31st goals in the blue shirt. His first strike saw him go level with France legends Just Fontaine and Jean-Pierre Papin on 30 career goals for France, and his second saw him level the tally of a certain Zinedine Zidane. Mbappé now has a tournament-high three goals and a career World Cup tally of seven goals - more than France's all-time top scorer Thierry Henry managed in four World Cup campaigns. 

Deschamps: 'An exceptional player'

Coach Didier Deschamps, who has said several times throughout the World Cup that this is Mbappé's tournament, is clearly looking to the 23-year-old to lead by example.

"Kylian... He's an exceptional player, he has this ability to be decisive, to make the difference, even when the opponents are marking him tightly, and he has taken a few knocks," explained the France boss. "He also benefits from having other dangerous players around him. The French team needs a very good Kylian. He is a leader. After that there are three types of leadership: physical, technical and more mental or expressive. If some of you were worried because Paul [Pogba] wasn't there, I can assure you that there are others who can speak. And while Kylian is not going to speak, he is a real engine for the team because of what he does."

France's next match, against Tunisia on Wednesday, 30 November, will see Mbappé and his cohorts look to secure top spot in Group D - which would set them up for a last-16 clash with the second-placed side from a wide-open Group C - which could be any one of Argentina, Poland, Mexico or Saudi Arabia.

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