Kylian Mbappe is our Hero of the Day after his brilliant brace sees France reach the World Cup quarter-finals

Matt Jones 30/06/2018
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France finally sparked into life at the World Cup and booked a quarter-final berth as Kylian Mbappe’s brace saw them beat Argentina 4-3.

Antoine Griezmann fired them in front from the penalty spot early on before Angel Di Maria’s brilliant long-range effort drew La Albiceleste level.

Argentina then took the lead when Gabriel Mercado deflected in Lionel Messi’s effort, but Les Bleus stormed back in front via Benjamin Pavard’s contender for goal of the tournament and Mbappe’s driven first.

The Paris Saint-Germain star then finished a fine team move to make it 4-2, with Sergio Aguero’s late header proving in vain.

Here, we analyse the performance of France’s flamboyant striker Mbappe, who truly stamped his mark on the 2018 World Cup.

STATISTICS

01 07 hero of day mbappe

30-SECOND REPORT

France had flattered to deceive so far, but it was almost as if the whistle to get the last 16 under way was the catalyst for Didier Deschamps’ giants to rise from their slumber. Mbappe was certainly wide awake from the start, tearing Argentina’s porous defence to shreds throughout.

His blistering pace forced Marcos Rojo to concede an early penalty while his second-half brace settled the contest. France have finally turned up and it’s their youngest player leading the way.

GOT RIGHT

Movement – He was constantly alert whenever France were in possession, looking to stretch an Argentine defence who have looked alarmingly suspicious. His run for the Griezmann penalty looked unstoppable, indeed only a foul from Rojo could end it. His run and touch to get onto the end of Pogba’s sublime pass which then led to a free-kick shortly after was a joy to behold.

Making a difference – Arguably the finest young talent on the planet, but we’d been waiting for him to really arrive at the World Cup. We’re waiting no longer as he put France back in the lead at 3-2 and then finished Argentina off.

GOT WRONG

Passing – It’s difficult to criticise a man who’s essentially won his team the match, but look beyond the obvious and there’s still much Mbappe can improve on. His passing accuracy is the glaringly obvious one, having put up a woeful figure of 70.8 per cent.

Only striker Olivier Giroud and goalkeeper Hugo Lloris were worse of the starting XI. And while his finishing was of the highest order and his speed posed insurmountable problems, he’ll need to fine tune the accuracy of his passes for the last eight.

VERDICT

His Olympian speed tempted Rojo into a rugby tackle which resulted in the opener after only 13 minutes. His sublime touch and skill then saw him find space in a crowded box to fire France back in front as both player and team turned it on after finding themselves 2-1 down. Mbappe was then on the end of a sumptuous team move, side-footing in stylishly to put the cherry on top of a stunning move that started with Lloris.

RATING: 9/10

All statistics are compiled using whoscored.com

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Kylian Mbappe stars with brace as France beat Argentina in 4-3 thriller to reach World Cup quarter-finals

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France finally sparked into life at the World Cup and booked a quarter-final berth as Kylian Mbappe’s brace saw them beat Argentina 4-3.

Antoine Griezmann fired them in front from the penalty spot early on before Angel Di Maria’s brilliant long-range effort drew La Albiceleste level.

Argentina then took the lead when Gabriel Mercado deflected in Lionel Messi’s effort, but Les Bleus stormed back in front via Benjamin Pavard’s contender for goal of the tournament and Mbappe’s driven first.

The Paris Saint-Germain star then finished a fine team move to make it 4-2, with Sergio Aguero’s late header proving in vain.

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Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo cannot be stopped by one player, admits Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez

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Oscar Tabarez will task his whole Uruguay team with stopping Cristiano Ronaldo after admitting no one player can shackle Portugal’s dangerman in their last-16 clash.

Uruguay have reached the World Cup’s knockout phase as the only nation yet to concede a goal, though that record is likely to come under serious threat when they face Ronaldo in Sochi.

Only Harry Kane has scored more in Russia than the 33-year-old, whose form has been so good that Donald Trump even asked his Portuguese counterpart if Ronaldo would ever run for president during a White House visit this week.

Ronaldo is likely to come up against arguably the strongest centre-back pairing at the tournament in Atletico Madrid duo Diego Godin and Jose Maria Gimenez.

However, Tabarez insists neither man is capable of handling Ronaldo on their own.

“I believe that Cristiano Ronaldo is one of the best strikers in the world,” the Uruguay coach told a pre-match press conference.

“What Ronaldo has on top of all of these qualities is that he’s the leader of that team. That is an additional factor.

“There’s not a single player who can contain him. Not just Godin. We will have to work collectively in order to try and limit the effect that he can have.”

How Godin and Gimenez fare against Ronaldo is one of the intriguing subplots surrounding this fixture, though both sides’ defensive records have some fearing a dull contest.

Oscar Washington Tabarez

After their 3-3 draw with Spain in their opening World Cup game, Portugal have not conceded a goal from open play and they shipped just one in their four knockout games at Euro 2016.

Asked whether Saturday’s contest with Uruguay could be “boring”, Portugal boss Fernando Santos told a press conference: “No, I don’t think so.

“I think it’s going to be a great match. Two teams are going to try and win – each team using their weapons.

“I hope it’s going to be a great clash between these two teams because it’s very different from the group stages – either you win or you lose. Portugal wants to win.”

Tabaraz, meanwhile, is not concerned with the level of entertainment.

“I don’t know what the match will be like,” he said. “Maybe you are worried that it might start being boring; we don’t even think about that. We’re there to win.”

Despite the high-stakes nature of the fixture, Tabaraz has reported his camp is a relaxed one having been impressed by what he has seen in Uruguay’s victories over Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Russia.

“The last three matches we’ve started showing what we’re trying to achieve and it’s become apparent on the pitch,” he said.

“I believe that we are closer than ever to achieving our real objectives. We want to achieve this at the World Cup.

“Above and beyond the importance of the match – what it means to win or lose – I think we have a certain calmness and serenity in terms of facing it.”

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