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What did Kylian Mbappé say to motivate Argentina ahead of World Cup final?

In Argentina, they haven’t forgotten what Kylian Mbappé said about South American football a few months ago. “South American teams have disadvantages because they don’t have the same level of competition as European teams. Argentina and Brazil don’t play matches at a high level to get to the World Cup. Football is not as advanced as it is in Europe. That’s what you saw in recent World Cups,” the France forward said at the time.

Now that Argentina are facing France in the 2022 World Cup final, Mbappé’s comments have resurfaced. It’s an extra incentive for La Albiceleste behind closed doors. Lionel Scaloni’s team have always seen France as the most dangerous opponent at the World Cup in Qatar. Even in a hypothetical semi-final meeting with Brazil, they would have been optimistic. They had already beaten Tite’s team in the Copa America final.

Argentina have nightmares remembering the 2018 World Cup match with France. Four years later they meet the world champions again and their biggest threat is Kylian Mbappé. The forward announced himself on the biggest stage of them all with a fine display that day against La Albiceleste. In the 4-3 win for Les Bleus in Kazan, Mbappé, 19 at the time, was instrumental in scoring two goals, which ultimately sent the Argentinians packing.

The speed he displayed made him unstoppable for Jorge Sampaoli’s backline, who was experiencing his last game as national team head coach. It was also the end for other players such as Mascherano, Mercado, Rojo, Banega, Enzo Pérez and Kun Agüero. The defeat hurt a lot because of what it meant and how it happened.

Argentina have seen drastic changes in their squad four years on. Scaloni has given them a new dimension since he took over. They are champions of America and have managed to reach the World Cup final after losing the first match to Saudi Arabia. Some players, like Alexis Mac Allister, Enzo Fernández and Julián Álvarez, have come of age.

The threat of Mbappé in World Cup final

There is no way of stopping Mbappé when he has space to run into, something France constantly look to do. They try to beat opponents on the counter-attack and the speed of their wingers is a constant threat, with Mbappé, Ousmane Dembélé and overloads from full-backs. Against Morocco, Mbappé hit a speed of 35.2 kilometres per hour and Dembélé beat him with 35.3.

The Mbappé run has continued and his game has developed since Russia 2018. At PSG he has become an even better player, and with France he already has the makings of a world-class star.

France lost Karim Benzema in the days leading up to the start of Qatar, but their main man Mbappé has responded. He has five goals and two assists to his name, although he failed to score in the quarter and semi-finals of the tournament.

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