Kylian Mbappe's classy act after awful World Cup fan incident
France superstar Kylian Mbappe was involved in a horrible moment before his side's semi-final victory over Morocco on Thursday morning (AEDT), after accidentally injuring a French supporter during the warm-up. Mbappe's side booked their spot in the final against Lionel Messi's Argentina with a 2-0 win over Morocco, thanks to goals from Theo Hernandez and substitute Randal Kolo Muani.
While Mbappe didn't add to his tally of five goals at the World Cup - equal with Messi in the lead for the Golden Boot award - the 23-year-old did play a massive role in both goals. The first saw Hernandez lash home an acrobatic volley after Mbappe's effort on goal - from Antoine Griezmann's cutback - was deflected into his path by the Moroccan defence.
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Mbappe was also the creator of the second after dribbling through the Morocco defence before another deflected shot fell kindly for Kolo Muani to tap into an essentially unguarded net. Mbappe was also in the thick of the action before kick-off when he blasted a ball into the face of a French supporter during the warm-up.
Noticing the man in some distress in the stands, Mbappe leapt over the hoarding around the stadium and made his way to the section of the grandstand where the French supporter was sitting. It was a classy act from the French superstar, whose concern for the supporter was genuine.
Images of the incident quickly spread around the world, with photos painting an awful scene as the anguish on the man's face was clear for all to see. Amongst the mayhem, however, several pictures showed the excited looks on the faces of the man's friends as they got the chance to come face-to-face with their national hero, Mbappe.
Mbappe went to apologise to this fan after hitting him with a ball in the warmup
What surprised me is that everyone is happy to see Mbappe this close while their friend is dying on their hands. Come'on!🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣#ErgibgebitunMetotNewMeselegne😭 pic.twitter.com/YBhi92QSev
— Kasaye (@KasayeRH) December 14, 2022
Unbelievable photo from when Mbappe hit the fan with a wayward shot, mainly cause it looks like the fan has been decapitated. pic.twitter.com/IT1TyuuteR
— Nick Stoll (@NickStoll) December 14, 2022
Mbappé went to apologize to a fan after hitting him in the face with a ball during 🇫🇷's warm-up 🙏💙 pic.twitter.com/orpYOmqJhG
— 433 (@433) December 14, 2022
Kylian Mbappe going to the stands to apologise to a fan after he hit him with a ball during warmup. pic.twitter.com/DMVFc2N5y8
— FT90Extra (@FT90Extra) December 14, 2022
Mbappe apologising to the French fan he hit in the warmups... pic.twitter.com/CIOgUzFU4b
— Eurosport (@eurosport) December 14, 2022
One of Kylian Mbappé’s shots hit a fan in the stands during warmups and he went over to make sure the fan was OK 🙏 pic.twitter.com/c0c8AtBBIR
— Lil Promzy (@lilpromzy27) December 14, 2022
Mbappe and France head into Monday morning's (AEDT) final hoping to become the first team since Pele's Brazil in 1962 to win back-to-back World Cups - a feat that, if accomplished, would see the comparisons between the two players reach new levels. In what many are calling a 'dream final', it will also pit arguably the game's best player at present, with the man regarded by many as the greatest of all time.
Messi and Mbappe showdown leaves fans salivating
The showdown between Mbappe and Messi is even more special as it will draw the curtain on the Argentinian legend's World Cup career, with the 35-year-old announcing this will be his final tournament.
It will be a battle of continents and generations, with Messi having the chance to cement his GOAT status or pass the torch to the lastest challenger to his throne.
For all the inevitable talk about individuals and perhaps the two best football players on the planet right now, Monday's final will be about which team, which collective unit of players comes out on top. As France's record goal scorer Olivier Giroud warned after their semi-final win, Les Blues have a lot more to worry about than just stopping Messi.
“There is not only Messi in that team, eh,” Giroud told reporters. “They've got great players who work for the team also.”
Another concern for France will be around the threat of a virus spreading that has already affected the squad, with Adrien Rabiot and Dayot Umpemecano, starters in midfield and defence respectively, missing the game against Morocco. The pair took no part after battling flu-like symptoms, with coach Didier Deschamps hinting that Kingsley Coman was also feeling unwell.
“We are taking all the precautions, we're trying to make sure that it doesn't spread,” he said. Rabiot stayed back at the team hotel rather than traveling to Wednesday’s game. “But viruses, of course, are infectious,” he added.
France, though, has sufficient depth to weather an outbreak. Argentina has plenty too. Together, they have all the ingredients to concoct a final for the ages, perhaps the most memorable of the 21st century.
The tournament as a whole has been memorable, too. The controversy around the Qatar showpiece has not and will not disappear and will inevitably taint the legacy of the event. But the football has thrilled and thrown up an abundance of surprises - such as Morocco's run to the last-four.
Now it will end as it always does, with either Argentina or France, one of the six nations who’ve won the tournament twice. It will end with a gargantuan audience and with history, either a title for Messi or a second in succession for France.
“Both teams are playing a better team than they've played so far in the tournament,” Deschamps said. “It will be up to key players to make a difference. Maybe a team who makes fewer mistakes. … Whoever manages to do that will win the match.”
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