‘Today was the most explosive performance’: Rio Ferdinand hails Kylian Mbappe’s two-goal display as better than Lionel Messi’s showing against Australia… but Mauricio Pochettino says France still have ‘areas to improve’
Rio Ferdinand hailed Kylian Mbappe’s performance in France’s last-16 win over Poland – maybe even ranking it about Lionel Messi’s landmark role in Argentina’s win the previous day.
Mbappe’s brace helped Les Bleus to win 3-1 over Poland, although Didier Deschamps’ men did not have it all their own way at the Al Thumama Stadium.
Speaking to BBC after the Poland game, pundit Ferdinand said that the 23-year-old’s performance was full of ‘confidence’, and comparable to Messi’s role at the centre of Argentina’s 2-1 victory over Australia to also make it to the quarter-finals.
Ferdinand said: ‘Yesterday, I spoke about Messi as the best performance. Today [Mbappe] was the most explosive performance, devastating in all areas.’
Kylian Mbappe scored twice to help France progress from their last-16 match with Poland
His double rose Mbappe to nine World Cup goals across the four he scored in 2018 and the five he’s scored this time around to lead the Golden Boot race.
However, Poland more than matched France at least during the first half, until Olivier Giroud’s opener, which made him France’s all-time top male goalscorer.
Mbappe’s two goals comfortably sealed Deschamps and his squad into the quarter-finals, although their clean sheet was spoiled with Robert Lewandowski’s consolation penalty.
Mauricio Pochettino said that France would have to improve to get much further in the competition, as they will face a tough challenge regardless of whether they face England or Senegal in the next round.
Rio Ferdinand said Mbappe’s performance was ‘the most explosive’ one of the World Cup so far
Lionel Messi was an instrumental figure in Argentina’s 2-1 victory over Australia on Saturday
The former Spurs manager said it was a ‘professional performance for France – job done. When you have Mbappe in your team, today, he did his job fantastic. He’s an amazing talent.
‘Now I think it’s time to analyse a little bit. France need to improve a lot. They need to push the level up, the quality. If they want to be real contenders, they need to play like a team. Today, they were too much in a difficult situation’.
Former French defender Laura Georges said she was ‘relieved’ by the victory, and Mbappe’s star performance, but said that the national side would have to work out ‘how to use it better’.
Pochettino previously managed Mbappe at PSG, and revealed that the 23-year-old would spend several days a week training for shots like the second goal that he scored.
Former PSG boss Mauricio Pochettino said France would have to improve for Saturday’s game
The 50-year-old ex-Argentina player said: ‘He’s impossible to stop – the quality, the capacity to hit, the technique is so, so good. It’s a nightmare for the full-back. It’s impossible.’
Ferdinand said: ‘You sense he’s toying with his opponents. He’s that good, he’s that quick, he’s that explosive, he feels like he can go past anyone on that pitch. “There’s no one who can stop me.” That’s the confidence.
‘It makes it impossible for defenders. I just love being in the stadium watching players like this, and what they can do. It’s interesting what Mauricio said, there’s still improvement.’
Former French defender Laura Georges was relieved her country had got through the game
Mbappe now leads the World Cup Golden Boot race in Qatar with five goals and two assists
On the PSG man, host Gary Lineker said: ‘He lights the place up when he gets the ball.’
While Georges went on to explain two possible ways to stop Mbappe. She said: ‘The defender needs to be really fast, and a centre-back who’s always following the second run. If you cut the distribution, you have to be really tight.
‘Poland started the game really well, they were really tight, close to each other. But you have to be really focused during the game.’
France’s next match will take place on Saturday against the victor of Sunday’s late clash between England and Senegal.