Kylian Mbappe put some fans offside with alleged acts of poor sportsmanship in France’s semi-final win over Belgium, but even more were stunned by a particular piece of play.
The French teenager’s wonderful backheel flick to put Olivier Giroud in on goal was brilliant.
Receiving the ball from Blaise Matuidi, Mbappe had the ball for mere milliseconds as he pushed it with his right, turned to his left and sent the ball past Belgian defender Vincent Kompany with his left foot.
Unfortunately for the World Cup’s breakout star, Giroud had his shot blocked – but that’s no reason not to replay Mbappe’s silky skill over and over.
That Mbappe flick to Giroud deserved a goal, aswear. Sweet something
— Babatunde (@bellobabs) July 10, 2018
Mbappé just added a couple mill to his price tag with that flick to Giroud
— Fuad (@I_amFS) July 10, 2018
This kid is 19 years old & doing back heel flicks inside Belgiums penalty box in a World Cup semi final… The next big thing, Mbappe!! The future of soccer is in good hands 👏🏻🙌🏻
— Vale Duque (@Duque_valentina) July 10, 2018
It was so good that, despite all the long-range shots beating goalkeepers or Argentina’s brilliant move finished off by Lionel Messi against Nigeria, SBS commentator Martin Tyler exclaimed that it would have been one of the goals of the tournament had Giroud finished.
In any case, Mbappe will have at least 90 minutes more to show off his wares after helping France to the final against England or Croatia.
While he might be a chance for the Golden Ball, the 19-year-old is typically focused on ending his nation’s 20-year title drought.
“It’s unimaginable. It is the dream of a life, of a future life, of everything. I do not have the words,” Mbappe said to TF1.
“Even in my biggest dreams I had not imagined that, and yet I am a big dreamer. But it remains a step.
“When you do not cheat and work for the collective, you are rewarded. As long as I can help the team, it’s all that matters to me.
“I do not care about the Ballon d’Or, I want the World Cup.”
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Mbappe received a yellow card late in the game when he attempted to waste time by running the ball away from Belgium after a stoppage.
He also went down easily and clutched at his head despite what appeared to be a regulation challenge.