France lives up to its role as favourite

Mith a very confident grin on his face, Kilian Mbappé left the Stadion 974 after his first big coup of this World Cup tournament, the French striker is obviously on the way to the next peak of his footballing life.

Of course, he was named “Player of the Game” and awarded the corresponding trophy by the beer sponsor, who, as is well known, is not allowed to sell beer at the stadium.

Mbappé proudly carried the shimmering red trophy into the bus, he no longer wanted to speak. But he had given his audience enough even without words on this warm winter night on the Persian Gulf.

Like Zinedine Zidane, Mbappé has now scored 31 goals for the Équipe Tricolore, aged 23, after scoring twice in the holders’ 2-1 win over Denmark. However, it is probably even more important for him that his team really gets going.

After two wins, the French are early in the round of 16. “It was a very good performance, I’m very proud,” said coach Didier Deschamps, who replied when asked about Mbappé’s performance: “He’s an extraordinary player, but he’s also part of an extraordinary team.”

The effort to steer the public’s focus away from Mbappé towards the collective could not be ignored, but it was a pretty hopeless endeavor after this game. Because the World Championship is well on its way to producing its first major tournament hero.

Neymar has been injured for the first time, Lionel Messi has to worry about participation in the round of 16 with his Argentines after the 2-0 win over Mexico, Mbappé, on the other hand, is in top form in a strong team. “He did well. He’s crucial in almost every game,” said Olivier Giroud.

For the time being, the Paris St. Germain forward is joint-top scorer with Eucadorian Enner Valencia after scoring with a header in the 4-1 win over Australia.



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