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World Cup 2022: when Kylian Mbappé puts Uzbekistan “in boiling”

Why make it simple when you can make it complicated ? No more French fans of Kylian Mbappé, place for supporters in Uzbekistan. The Blues striker unleashed passions there by accidentally appearing in a photo near the flag of this Central Asian country. After France’s victory against Denmark this Saturday (2-0) at the World Cup in Qatar, Mbappé posted on his Instagram account a photo, at first sight quite classic, where he celebrates his goal with supporters.

But the presence on this picture of the Uzbek flag – three horizontal bands of blue, white and green, with a moon and twelve stars hanging from the platform facing Mbappé changed everything. The photo is already one of the most commented on Mbappé’s account, with nearly 75,000 comments, mostly emojis representing the flag of this authoritarian country in Central Asia located 5,000 km from Paris. By way of comparison, the photos where the Paris Saint Germain striker poses with the World Cup trophy (July 2018) and the seven-time Ballon d’Or Lionel Messi (August 2021) had collected 76,000 and 76,500 comments respectively.

“Making Uzbekistan known and supporting the French team”

“Mbappé is the unexpected hero of Uzbekistan”, congratulates AFP the owner of the flag, Abdourakhman Fazylov, who came to the World Cup to “make Uzbekistan known and support the France team”. “This photo put the country in turmoil, everyone asks me to go see the match of France against Tunisia”, he says. In 2021, during the vote for the Ballon d’Or, a journalist from the Central Asian country had already placed Kylian Mbappé in the lead.

A former Soviet republic, Uzbekistan was ruled for a quarter of a century by the ruthless Islam Karimov. Since 2016, major economic and social reforms have been carried out in this country of 35 million inhabitants, but it remains accused of not respecting fundamental freedoms.

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