Kylian Mbappe’s meteoric rise showed no sign of stopping, as the France forward sealed the reigning champions’ 2-1 victory over Denmark on Saturday to advance them to the knockout stages of the World Cup.
Mbappe, who will celebrate his 24th birthday two days after the Dec. 18 final, was the figure of the match with two goals after halftime, although he was perhaps too selfish in the first half.
None of that mattered when he opened the scoring after a move by Theo Hernández, and even less when he got the winning goal by connecting with a thigh a cross from Antoine Griezmann.
Mbappe has scored 31 goals in 61 appearances for France, and is inching closer to the all-time record of 51 goals held by Olivier Giroud and Thierry Henry.
He already ranks seventh on France’s scoring list, on par with the great Zinedine Zidane.
Mbappe has seven goals in two World Cups, behind just Just Fontaine, who set a record of 13 in 1958, and already surpasses Henry’s six in four World Cup appearances.
In the current edition he has three goals.
“Kylian is an extraordinary player. I’ve said it several times, he has that ability to be decisive, to make a difference,” coach Didier Deschamps told reporters.
“Kylian does everything to perform well and that’s what he has done in the first two games. It’s good for us,” added the coach.
With Giroud playing as the sole striker in the absence of the injured Karim Benzema, Mbappe has the space he craves on the left wing and is taking advantage of it so far in Group D activity.
“But having other players around him who bring danger allows him to have a little more freedom. He is part of a group that is very strong and has in mind this goal of winning the World Cup,” added Deschamps.