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
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