WORLD CUP 2022 – Blues – Kylian Mbappé at the rendezvous of his story: “It’s his competition”

It didn’t take long to figure it out. After about thirty minutes and already a ton of balls hit, Mbappé had started as everyone expected: in the shoes of the assumed leader of the world champions. Of course, he sometimes sinned by excess of individualism as on his often badly kicked corners and his too many touches of the ball. But it is clear after this first match that the salvation of the Blues will pass through him. The absence of Karim Benzema has installed him a little more in these functions that they desire and demand since he was able to control a ball.

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Kylian Mbappé (France) during the celebration of his goal against Australia.

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Beyond the impression that everything must go through him, there is above all this observation: once again, Mbappé was the most decisive Blue. His backheel triggers the second but he is finishing the second (with a pretty uncrossed header) and the decisive pass on the fourth. While he has long sought a second wind in Blue after his launch at the 2018 World Cup, he now remains on 12 goals and 6 assists in his last 11 selection outings. Nobody does better, neither in the finish nor in the last pass.

I knew he was gonna be ready

Nobody, either, has touched more balls in the surface in the World Cup since 1970 (!) than him on Tuesday. Nineteen to be precise, which says something about both his availability and his influence. Didier Deschamps never wanted to extract him from the collective and if he has always recognized the unique talent of his striker, the coach has always taken care to include him in a team project. “He is an attacker who needs freedoms. I will give him that freedom. But he will have defensive obligations. Less than midfielders and defenders, but at top level you can’t afford to lose a player when you don’t have the ball“, he says again this week.

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But on Tuesday, after his best player’s big performance, he took him out of the team stakes for one of the first times: “I’ve been talking to him for a while, I knew he was going to be ready because it’s his competition“, named Deschamps at a press conference. Before recovering: “It is part of a collective, it is important, with the ability to make the difference alone too. In the offensive field, having Kylian at this level is very important for my team.

Giroud, his best ally

In his evolution in Blue, the arrival of Karim Benzema proved to be decisive since it had allowed him, after the Euro, to find efficiency. We could have feared for his performance in the absence of the Madrid player. But the September meeting, already in the absence of KB9, had sketched out a new relationship between Mbappé and Giroud. The statements of the Parisian at the end of the match on the usefulness of the Milanese for his profile ended up burying the hatchet between the two men. Their new understanding is today the best weapon of the Blues and Mbappé in his final mission: to mark the history of his country and his sport.

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