Kylian Mbappe relishes central role and other talking points from France's 3-1 win in Russia

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • Mail
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • WhatsApp
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
Kylian Mbappe celebrates his first goal in Russia.

Kylian Mbappe became the youngest player to score a brace for France since World War Two and Paul Pogba fired in a fierce free-kick as Les Bleus rebounded in style to beat sorry World Cup 2018 hosts Russia 3-1 on Tuesday night.

Didier Deschamps’ men had embarrassingly surrendered a two-goal lead to lose 3-2 at home to Colombia on Friday. They were determined to avoid a repeat in Saint Petersburg.

Striker Mbappe first expertly tucked in midfielder Pogba’s superb pass on 40 minutes. The latter then fired in a set-piece after the break, prior to Russia striking back through Fyodor Smolov 68th-minute tap-in at the back post.

But all hope was extinguished when Mbappe – who went off injured late on – then shot through goalkeeper Andrey Lunev’s legs.

MBAPPE STRIKES OUT ON HIS OWN

The ties binding France head coach Didier Deschamps to towering centre forward Olivier Giroud may have weakened after this.

Freed from his defensively cataclysmic wide role in a 4-4-2 formation last week, Mbappe relished a more central spot in a 4-3-3.

Reward for Deschamps’ faith in the out-of-sorts Paris Saint-Germain prodigy was another landmark achievement, one distasteful booking for diving aside, thanks to his double aged just 19 years and three months.

Deschamps is blessed with attacking options and does not seem to know what to do with them all.

His granting of eight appearances for Giroud in qualifying produced seven starts and a respectable four goals.  But could the fluidity of an Antoine Griezmann, Mbappe and Thomas Lemar trident be the better option going forward?

POGBACK?

It is intriguing to wonder whether Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho decided to watch this game.

The twisted relationship between the Portuguese and his record £89 million (Dh430m) buy has provided an ongoing soap opera throughout 2018.

In Saint Petersburg, Pogba was allowed to do his talking on the pitch. He duly stepped up with his first-ever goal and assist double in the same game for Les Bleus.

For his club, the 25-year-old hadn’t produced an assist since January 15 or a goal since November 18.

Another poor night seemed likely when a failed turn saw possession lost in a dangerous spot within the first two minutes.

Strength of character was needed to rebound. He must now do the same at Old Trafford on Saturday against Swansea.

CASE FOR THE DEFENCE

It has not been a good 180 minutes for France’s defenders.

Real Madrid centre-back Raphael Varane was appalling in defeat to Colombia and was dropped at Krestovsky Stadium. Barcelona’s Samuel Umtiti kept his place, yet a wild attempt at a header sowed chaos in the defence from which prolific Krasnodar striker Smolov was happy to profit.

On the right flank, Stuttgart’s Benjamin Pavard looked exactly what he is – a centre-back playing out of position.

Deschamps should also have noted how more secure his side looked in a 4-3-3. Friday’s experiment must be left in the bin.

Most popular

Salt Bae serves food to Argentina legend Diego Maradona in Dubai

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • Mail
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • WhatsApp
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn

While he might be losing his sleep over Argentina’s chances in the 2018 World Cup, legendary star Diego Maradona was seen enjoying himself in Dubai on Tuesday.

Serving food to the Fujairah boss was Turkish chef Nusret Gokce, aka Salt Bae, who by the looks of it had a wonderful time as well.

And if serving food to the legend wasn’t enough, Salt Bae even got a grand hug from a quite emotional Maradona, which was appreciated by a thunderous applause from the crowd present at the restaurant!

#saltbae#salt#saltlife LOVE ❤️ @maradona 🇹🇷🇦🇷

A post shared by Nusr_et#Saltbae (@nusr_et) on

Most popular

Related Sections

Zlatan Ibrahimovic eager to show LA Galaxy he still has something left in the tank

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • Mail
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • WhatsApp
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
Zlatan Ibrahimovic is ready for the next stage of his career in the MLS.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic feels he still has more to offer football and that his move across the Atlanta Ocean to the LA Galaxy is the right fit for him.

The 36-year-old star forward is making the move to Major League Soccer after a stint with Manchester United for the past two seasons.

Though Galaxy’s five MLS Cups pale in comparison to the Red Devils’ 20 Premier League titles, Ibrahimovic believes he’s choosing the best team in America.

“I decided to sign with Galaxy because I think it’s the right place for me,” Ibrahimovic said. “I think I have a lot to give, I can help them a lot and it’s the best team in the US. So there were no doubts.”

Ibrahimovic joins a list of other big European names to have made the switch to the MLS, which includes David Beckham, David Villa, Andrea Pirlo, Kaka and Ashley Cole.

Most popular

Related Sections