Kylian Mbappe is no stranger to football fans the world-over.
On Thursday night, the 19-year-old netted the winner as France edged Peru 1-0 to seal their passage out of Group C and into the knockout stages of the tournament.
In doing so, Mbappe became Les Bleus’ youngest-ever World Cup goalscorer and the 12th youngest in the history of football’s showpiece event.
The teenager started to the right of central striker Olivier Giroud and took a while to settle while he got used to his duties on the flank, but often made room to move inside.
Once he did though get accustomed to proceedings, we started to see the best of Mbappe.
Alongside Giroud and Antoine Griezmann, who was operating in a deep-lying attacking position behind the main frontman, the trio began to combine to good effect.
As Mbappe’s stats illustrate, he was heavily involved during the final third, particularly in the first 45 minutes, and displayed predatory instincts and a goalscoring hunch to follow up Giroud’s saved shot and score.
CLINICAL ON THE BIG STAGE: The former Monaco man’s rise to superstardom has been rapid over the past 18 months and we should not forget how easy he has made the transition to international football look.
Starting from the right isn’t his most natural position but Mbappe has made the best of it, and on this evidence, is growing into the tournament.
RAN OUT OF STEAM: Mbappe departed on 74 minutes after Deschamps introduced Ousmane Dembele. He definitely tired in the second period as Peru enjoyed more territorial pressure and France’s onus was on defending, rather than attacking.
As such, he started to lose his way and seemed a bit out of sync in what his defensive duties entailed.
Goalscoring display should kick-start his and Les Bleus’ tournament as the pre-tournament hosts for many seem to be hitting their stride at a crucial juncture.
RATING – 7/10
Croatia booked their spot in the World Cup knockout stages and all-but ended Argentina’s hopes after sealing a 2-0 Group D victory on Thursday night.
Ante Rebic scored a sumptuous second-half volley, capitlizing on Willy Caballero’s horrendous mis-kick.
Skipper Luka Modric then struck a 25-yard piledriver into the back of the net after 80 minutes before Ivan Rakitic wrapped-up a famous triumph by almost walking the ball in.
Lionel Messi struggled to gain a foothold in the match and Argentina now need a miracle with one more match to play against Nigeria.
Here, we rate the performance of Zlatko Dalic’s men.
Danijel Subasic – 6: Would have expected a busier evening at the Nizhny Novgorod Stadium but was rarely tested by limp Argentine attack.
Sime Vrsaljko – 6: Right-back was combative and never short of energy or aggression when launching himself into tackles.
Dejan Lovren – 6: A lapse or two could have cost him dear with Sergio Aguero ready to pounce but Liverpool centre-back grew into towering presence.
Domagoj Vida – 7: The Besiktas star was the leader of the back line and had a heavy influence on proceedings.
Ivan Strinic – 6: Left-back was organised and handled everything that came his way.
Ivan Rakitic – 9: Superb block to deny Messi in 64th minute in Argentine hero’s only goalscoring opportunity. All action display from Blaugrana ace, capped off with a fine goal.
Marcelo Brozovic – 6: Did a lot of unselfish running and often got tight to Messi to shackle their star player.
Ante Rebic – 8: Very fortunate to escape horror first-half challenge on Eduardo Salvio but then popped up with superb winner following horrendous Willy Caballero mistake.
Luka Modric – 9: Scintillating pass to release Rebic at backend of first-half. Croatia captain was coolest head in heated midfield battle and wonder goal was icing on the cake.
Mario Mandzukic – 5: Experienced striker was not at his clinical best and missed free header to open the scoring in the first-half.
Mateo Kovacic – 5: Little to no time to make an impact but would have enjoyed being part of closing stages.
Vedran Corluka – 5: Came on in injury-time.
There’s still a long way to go in the World Cup group stages, but some of the tournament’s top players have already found the back of the net multiple times.
Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo has four goals to his name so far to lead all players in Russia, having scored a hat-trick in the opener against Spain and another in a win over Morocco.
Check out the players trailing Ronaldo as the World Cup’s top scorers in the video below.