From Messi to Mbappe, the passing of a generation
“Blessed with but sublime skill, quick thinking, two clever feet, a cool head, bravery, belief and a brutal eye for goal,” was part of the the glowing attribute to the French youngster by BBC’s Patrick Jennings.
Mbappe’s blistering pace from the midfield earned France its opener when he was brought down in the penalty box by Manchester United’s defender Marcos Rojo. France’s penalty was beautifully converted by Atletico Madrid’s striker Antoine Griezmann that put their side in the driving seat only 11 minutes from the start.
Mbappe proved a nemesis to Argentina’s defence later in the second half when he scored twice and helped the French national team advance to the quarter finals by 4 goals to 3.
Sam Wallace, the Telegraph’s Chief Football writer remarked that: “Mbappe is so fast that he makes quick players look slow and slow players look positively static.”
His outstanding performance so punished Argentina that they were forced to defend as deep as possible which invited more problems by keeping their enemies to their half.
When the final whistle was blown, Messi’s embrace of Mbappe appeared to, at least symbolically, signify the passing of the baton from the 31-year old five time winner of the Balon D’Or to the 19-year old Paris St. Germain player.
In the other game of the evening, Christian Ronaldo’s Portugal were crashed out of the World Cup thanks to two goals by Uruguay’s Edison Cavani.