Kylian Mbappe said he was in the “competition of my dreams” in the World Cup after two goals in France’s 3-1 victory over Poland sent the world champions to the quarter-finals and left rival coach Czeslaw Michniewic as the natural heir to Lionel Messi. And Cristiano Ronaldo.
Mbappe, who helped France win the 2018 World Cup in Russia, has moved into pole position in the race for the Golden Boot for this tournament with two goals, bringing it to five so far in Qatar.
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His goal in Al-Thumama marked the nine goals in World Cup history ever – one more than Ronaldo and equaled with Messi – and his five goals in the knockout rounds means that only he and Pele (6) have scored that many before the age of 24. .
Speaking after the match, which decided a quarter-final clash against England or Senegal, Mbappe said he was enjoying every minute of this tournament.
“This is the competition of my dreams and I am happy to be here,” Mbappe said. “I prepared all season to be ready.
“When I didn’t speak to the media in the early rounds of this competition, it was because I just needed to focus on the championship and my football. When I want to focus, that’s how I work, but when I’m told the French federation will be fined, I paid it myself because it was my responsibility.
“But I’m here and focused on winning the World Cup again. We’re a long way from achieving our goal of going all the way and winning the World Cup, though. The first challenge is the quarter-finals and that’s what we’re focusing on now.”
Despite Mbappe being identified as a key player in France, Poland coach Michniewicz admitted that the Paris Saint-Germain star in this form is unstoppable. Mtchniewicz added that Mbappe is destined to be football’s next big star.
Messi and Ronaldo and [Robert] Mchniewich Lewandowski said. “Someone is going to take over, I think [Mbappe] It will be the best for many years.
“He hurt us. When you play against France you have to have two players with Mbappe at all times.”
Aside from scoring twice, Mbappe also sent Olivier Giroud to open the scoring and score the goal that moved him past Thierry Henry as France’s all-time leading scorer.
However, coach Didier Deschamps pointed out after the match that Mbappe was not at his best during the 90 minutes.
“He didn’t have his best match,” Deschamps said. “He knows it himself but he can change the game in a moment. France needed a great Kylian Mbappe tonight and we got one.”
Deschamps was keen to praise Giroud, having gotten ahead of Henry with his goal.
“Olivier has always been an important player,” he said. “Four years ago he didn’t score, but he was a very important player for us.
“In the past, he’s had difficult parts of his career, but he’s remained mentally strong. Scoring so many goals at international level is an achievement, even though the guy next to me [Mbappe] He might break it one day.”