How far France will go at the World Cup may depend on Kylian Mbappé

Al-Tumama, Qatar. The hardest thing at the World Cup is not winning the title. Repeat like a champ. Eight countries have won the World Cup, six of them more than once. However, only Brazil and Italy won the title twice in a row. However, in six decades, no team has been able to successfully defend the title.

That is the challenge facing France in Qatar, where Les Bleus made history on Sunday by beating Poland 3-1 in the round of 16. Who else scored? – Olivier Giroud and Kylian Mbappé, who have scored eight of France’s nine goals at the tournament.

For Mbappe, Sunday’s brace is his second at the World Cup and makes him the tournament leader with five goals in four games, making him a favorite. Favorite for both the Golden Ball (top player) and the Golden Boot (scorer). – none of them, according to Mbappe, are indifferent to him.

“My only goal is to win the World Cup [and] win the next match,” Mbappe said. “I came here to win the World Cup, not for the Golden Boot or the Ballon d’Or.

Now the road is more difficult: Next Saturday, France will face fifth place in the world rankings and closest Eurocup runners-up England in the quarter-finals. How far France will go, according to coach Didier Deschamps, may depend on Mbappé.

“He is unique,” ​​Deschamps said. “He didn’t show his best game today. He knows about it. But it can change game by game. Today, France needs the great Kylian Mbappé and they got him.

France is experiencing a football renaissance, although it has not yet fully developed at home. More than half of the team’s players at the World Cup were of African or Afro-Caribbean descent, as were eight of the 14 players who played in the World Cup final four years ago.

Mbappe is half Cameroon, half Algeria. Defender Jules Kunde is half Beninese in the family Dayot Upamecano from Guinea-Bissau. Striker Ousmane Dembele is from Mauritania, Senegal and Mali.

The breed is a product of the country’s colonial past, when tricolor flew over most of northwest Africa. Many people still speak French, have strong cultural ties to the country, and often immigrate to France. The football program, while beneficial, is not always good.

“When you win you are French, when you lose you are a Senegalese player,” Patrice Evra, a Senegalese who grew up in Paris and played 81 games for France, told the Sun.

Born in Marseille, Zinedine Zidane is considered by many French to be a foreigner due to his Algerian roots. That only changed after television cameras caught him crying while singing the national anthem after the country won the 1998 World Cup.

France face various problems at this World Cup as injuries forced them to start the tournament without a number of key players – striker Karim Benzema, midfielders Paul Pogba, N’Golo Kante and Boubacar Kamara, and defender Prenel Kimpembe. As a result, the Deschamps team doesn’t look like the diesel car they built four years ago in Russia.

France lost just seven of 630 minutes in 2018. They more than doubled in their first game here and lost in the group stage for the first time in 12 years. In Russia, he framed Mbappe and Antoine Griezmann, each scoring 4 goals. This time Giroud and Mbappe scored their first goals for France on Sunday.

“I think Mbappe will be the best player for many years to come.
Poland and striker Robert Lewandowski were seconds away from scoring for the third time in four games when Upamecano let the ball touch his hand in stoppage time. French goalkeeper Hugo Lloris stopped short on the first try, but Lewandowski’s odd stutter got him out early. Lewandowski, having a second chance, missed and sent the ball into the net with the last touch of the game.