France star Kylian Mbappe breaks his silence and plays down Golden Boot talk

The forward has five goals at this World Cup after his double against Poland – but he is only interested in team glory.
France star Kylian Mbappe breaks his silence and plays down Golden Boot talk

By George Sessions, PA

Kylian Mbappe ended his media silence after he fired France into the quarter-finals with a brace against Poland and insisted his only objective in Qatar is to win a second consecutive World Cup.

Two curled finishes by Mbappe put the holders through and have the Paris St Germain attacker on course to win the Golden Boot with his tally for the tournament now up to five.

Mbappe also provided an assist for Olivier Giroud’s opener at Al Thumama Stadium but insisted after his side’s 3-1 victory that personal accolades are of no interest to him during the next two weeks.

“The only objective for me is to win the World Cup,” Mbappe said in English.

“Now to win the next game, the quarter-final, is the most important thing and that is what I dream. The only thing I dream of is this.

“I came here to win this World Cup. I didn’t come here to win the Golden Ball or Golden Boot. If I win it, of course I’m going to be happy but that’s not why I am here. I am here to win and to help the French national team.”

After scoring in group-stage victories over Australia and Denmark, Mbappe refused to take part in any post-match interviews and the French Football Federation will be fined by FIFA due to their star man not speaking.

France v Denmark – FIFA World Cup 2022 – Group D – Stadium 974
Kylian Mbappe scored twice to send France through to the last eight (Nick Potts/PA)

The PSG striker has revealed he will cover the costs of the fines but explained his radio silence following his last-16 exploits.

Mbappe added: “I know people have been asking why I haven’t been appearing in front of the media.

“It wasn’t anything personal, I can assure you of that. I have nothing against journalists but I just needed to focus on the tournament and on my football.

“When I want to concentrate on something, that is the way I function and that is why I did not want to come and speak to you before now.

“I learned that the French Football Federation would get fined and I said I would pay the fine myself because I didn’t think the Federation should pay on my behalf.

“So far things have been going well but we are a long way from the ultimate objective, which is to win the World Cup. Now we have to focus on the quarter-final and that is the most important thing now.”

France v Australia – FIFA World Cup 2022 – Group D – Al Janoub Stadium
Didier Deschamps praised Olivier Giroud after France beat Poland (Martin Rickett/PA)

National team boss Didier Deschamps praised Mbappe’s impact and also paid tribute to Giroud, who become France’s record scorer with his 44th-minute strike – moving ahead of Thierry Henry onto 52 goals for his country.

“Kylian can change a match in just a moment and he is always playing with such joy and we all want to share those smiles with him. France needed a great Kylian Mbappe tonight and they got one,” Deschamps admitted.

“Olivier is often criticised but he has managed to remain strong, mentally strong and yes he has broken the record.

“It is a very difficult record to break. It was Thierry Henry who held that record before and then there is another guy just beside me (Mbappe) here who might break it one day but to score so many goals at international level is an achievement.”

It was Giroud and Mbappe who fired France to World Cup glory in Russia and the same duo sent Poland packing in Doha.

Giroud fired into the ground and over ex-Arsenal team-mate Wojciech Szczesny after Mbappe’s pass to ensure the world champions held a 1-0 lead at the break.

Mbappe added a second with 74 minutes on the clock when he controlled Ousmane Dembele’s pass and whipped a curled effort high into the net before another was added in the first minute of stoppage-time.

Poland, who had their moments and saw Piotr Zielinski denied by Hugo Lloris from point-blank range with the game goalless, did find the net late on when Robert Lewandowski scored a penalty, but only after his first effort had been saved by Lloris, who rushed off his line too early.

France v Poland – FIFA World Cup 2022 – Round of 16 – Al Thumama Stadium
Holders France will play England in the quarter-final (Peter Byrne/PA)

It was Poland’s first World Cup knockout match in 36 years but even their manager Czeslaw Michniewicz was left purring about Mbappe.

He said: “No coach knows the recipe to stop Mbappe in the form he is in right now. He is a fantastic player and he harmed us but I cheer for him because he is a real star.

“I am talking about Messi, Ronaldo, Lewandowski and someone is going to take over. I think Mbappe will be the player to be the best one in many years.”

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