In a massive blow to France ahead of their crucial quarterfinal showdown with one of the tournament favourites England, Kylian Mbappe has missed the training session following the Poland game with an ankle injury. The talismanic forward has been firing on all cylinders at the ongoing tournament, scoring a brace against Poland in the Round of 16 to steer his country into the quarterfinals.
With that, Mbappe took his tally at this World Cup to 5 goals in 4 games, and the all-time record to 9 in 11 games, more than the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Diego Maradona, Ronaldo Nazario, Luis Suarez, Neymar, Thierry Henry. He will certainly be eyeing to add to that tally against England, but doubts are now hovering above his participation itself in the tie.
France boss sweating over the injury of Kylian Mbappe
Kylian Mbappe was unstoppable, as usual, against Poland playing a role in all of France’s goals in their 3-1 win. The PSG player first nicely set-up Oliver Giround, who in the process became his country’s all-time leading goalscorer, surpassing Thierry Henry. Mbappe then took matter into his own hands, scoring two brilliant goals in the second half to put the game to bed.
Speaking after the game, Mbappe, who seemed in high spirits ahead of quarterfinal clash against England had said:
“This is the competition of my dreams and my only objective is to win the World Cup again. The most important thing for me right now is the quarter-final match. That is my only focus. I have been preparing for this competition all season both mentally and physically. I wanted to be ready and I am delighted to be here. I have not come to Qatar to win the Golden Boot or the Golden Ball.”
Didier Deschamps will hope it nothing serious and that his star-man is fit for the England clash. Both the teams boast an equal chance of qualifying through to the semifinals, but if all the PSG player misses the game, that could turn the tide in the favour of England. The Three Lions do have a stacked team, but they hardly have a player who can match Mbappe’s pace.
Kyle Walker comes closest to giving Mbappe a tough run, and his teammates have already pinned their hopes on him to stop the France forward. But given Walker had just returned from a groin injury before the tournament, and has only managed 147 minutes across his two appearances in 4 games so far in Qatar, the Mbappe task could prove too much for him. On the other hand, the former Monaco player missing the tie overall could just boost England’s chances furthermore, as they will not have to worry much about coming up against an electrifying player.
However, there has been no official statement on Mbappe’s injury at the moment, and the France manager feels his key plyer will be fit for the England game. France are already without a host of important players in Karim Benzema, N’Golo Kante, Lucas Hernandez, Paul Pogba and Christoph Nkunku, and can’t afford Kylian Mbappe going down the same path. They will close have to monitor the striker’s ankle problems in order for him to be fully fit for the remainder of their campaign in Qatar.