Kylian Mbappe and Lionel Messi gave the world the best World Cup final of all time. Lionel Messi garnered the most attention by leading Argentina to victory, but Kylian Mbappe of France transformed a routine final that was headed for an easy Albiceleste victory into a very memorable match. Even at his peak, as he was on Sunday night, Mbappe was unable to escape the legacy of Messi’s final World Cup moment. Randal Kolo Muani, a replacement who, like France’s No. 10, came off the bench to win a penalty kick and score another in the shootout, may feel that Mbappe’s single-handed contribution to France’s victory was unjust. However, the 24-year-old was given a fantastic one-on-one opportunity to win the game in overtime, only to have it saved. If Mbappe had the opportunity.
Like every Mbappe moment in Qatar, the World Cup final hat-trick from France’s No. 10 to twice bring France back from behind has nearly made a joke of the competition that so many, even the great Messi, have struggled to comprehend. Only four goals separate Mbappe from Miroslav Klose’s all-time record, which may be broken at his next chance to win the World Cup in 2026 with his 12 goals in just two tournaments.
At the Lusail Stadium, he displayed the utmost big-game mentality by shooting three penalties past Emiliano Martinez while his teammates battled to beat the same goalie in the shootout. The header that preceded his second goal was just as effective as the scissor-kick finish itself. However, if you look at the entire World Cup in Qatar rather than just the final, Mbappe has served as a constant reminder of his standing as a complete player at this extremely high level. If unchecked, like he was in the early rounds against Poland, Denmark, and Australia, Mbappe has the capacity to determine crucial games in his own great way.
Consider the encounter between France and England in the quarterfinals. How the Three Lions would handle Mbappe was a topic that received a lot of media coverage in the weeks leading up to the game. While England assistant manager Steve Holland disclosed that France’s talisman required “particular attention,” Kyle Walker, who was regularly questioned about how he would handle the France star, was catapulted into the limelight. However, Mbappe’s counterattack down the left, which saw many England players double and triple up on him, was the source of France’s first goal in the 2-1 triumph. When the 23-year-old switched the play, Aurelien Tchouameni was left free to score from a distance since England’s midfield was unable to reach him in time.
Antoine Griezmann was the most inventive player in the competition, producing the most opportunities, crosses, and assists. At the age of 36, Olivier Giroud enjoyed his greatest tournament in front of a goal. Mbappe was not only a top individual talent, but he also served as a diversion, allowing France’s other stars to shine. If you can’t stop him, you’ll be attacked by someone else. Mbappe will have another opportunity because of the direction the game is headed, even though he missed out on the top prize this year.
He undoubtedly has the club stature to surpass all other players in the world. As Mbappe enters his prime, his 221 goals in 309 club matches as of age 23 would undoubtedly equal or surpass Messi’s 706 goals in 863 club games. The fact that he hasn’t done it yet is a frightening thought. Only Erling Haaland, who is two years Mbappe’s junior and has scored 178 goals in 218 club games, can compete with him in the years to come. However, the Manchester City forward has been disappointing thus far because he has not represented Norway in any of the major international competitions.
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