Kylian Mbappe stretches his index finger in the sky, clenches his fist and asks the audience to cheer. In fact, he doesn’t have to. It’s in ecstasy anyway. A few moments earlier, the Frenchman had scored 3-0 for his team in the round of 16 of the World Cup in Qatar against Poland. Again, as with his 2-0 in the 74th minute, he was able to position the ball on the left corner of the penalty area and the ball hit the net again. This time top right – a dream goal (90th).
Mbappe’s 2-0 victory had also earned this distinction. Then he aimed for the short corner and thundered the ball under the bar – the preliminary decision in the fight against the bravely defending Poles. They had kept up well against the top favorites, especially in the first half of the game, even though France had an optical advantage.
But then Olivier Giroud made it 1-0 (44th) on assist from Mbappe. He replaced Thierry Henry as the Equipe Tricolore’s record scorer and now has 52 goals. Coach Didier Deschamps, who had warned against the Poles before the game, saw himself confirmed up to that point: “It certainly wasn’t easy. The Poles were well staggered, well positioned and always found their way back into the game. But Kylian with his skills solves that some problem.”
Team spirit and Mbappe
A few moments later, Deschamps added: “The team is a team, everyone is happy.” And Giroud never tired of pointing out his team’s unity: “It’s a wonderful shared experience. We’re a great bunch of comrades.”
Perfect shooting technique: Kylian Mbappe circles the ball from around 15 meters into the right corner of the goal.
But there is no question: Without Kylian Mbappe, the French team would not be where it is now. Especially after the failures of Ballon d’Or winner Karim Benzema, midfield strategist Paul Pogba or defensive ace Lucas Hernandez, a heavy burden rests on the shoulders of the 23-year-old from Paris St. Germain. But Mbappe has so far taken the pressure. His two goals against Poland were his fourth and fifth goals of the tournament, and he has a total of nine at World Cups. “This is the tournament of my dreams. I’ve been preparing myself physically and mentally for it all season,” said Mbappé after the game: “So far it’s going quite well, but we’re far from where we’re going.”
In contrast to that of Robert Lewandowski. The world footballer of the years 2020 and 2021 has to travel home with his Poles. Personally, the World Cup also came to a happy end for the former Bayern and current Barcelona star. After mixed performances in all four games and only one goal up to that point, Lewandowski converted a hand penalty with the final whistle to make it 1:3 (0:1).