World Cup Qualifiers

WCQ: Kylian Mbappe, France Close In On World Cup Qualification

PARIS, FRANCE - AUGUST 31: Kylian Mbappe of France celebrates his goal during the FIFA 2018 World Cup Qualifier between France and the Netherlands at Stade de France on August 31, 2017 in Saint-Denis near Paris, France. (Photo by Jean Catuffe/Getty Images)
WCQ: Kylian Mbappe, France Close In On World Cup Qualification

Didier Deschamps’s Bleus of France are rocking and rolling and cruising towards qualifying for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia. The youth face showcase at the Stade de France of Saint-Denis was on display as Dick Advocaat’s Oranje of the Netherlands were destroyed, 4-0. Combined with Bulgaria’s 3-2 upset victory over Sweden, France are now back on top of Group A in the European Qualifiers.

Monaco frontman Thomas Lemar scored a brace in the 73rd and 88th minutes and new PSG sureshot Kylian Mbappe slammed the door shut in the first minute of second half stoppage time, all proceeding a 14th minute strike from Atletico Madrid’s Antoine Griezmann. The win did not come without a cost: Laurent Koscielny took on a knock after a shocking challenge from Arjen Robben.

 

Mbappe and Lemar weren’t the only ones who had a strong outing, Barcelona signing Ousmane Dembele also shined as did Mbappe’s new PSG teammates Presnel Kimpembe and Adrien Rabiot, according to Four Four Two.

“Talk of Rabiot departing the Parc des Princes has been quashed by his emergence as a pivotal figure in the PSG midfield in recent seasons Comfortable on the ball going forward and adept at winning it back, Rabiot provides an assured presence in the engine room and should be a mainstay for the Parisians and France for years to come.

“Kimpembe made his Paris Saint-Germain debut back in 2014 but did not really break through until last season, making 19 appearances in Ligue 1 and earning a call up to the France squad for the World Cup qualifiers with Bulgaria and Netherlands last October. The highlight, though, came as he played the full 90 minutes in PSG’s emphatic 4-0 win over Barcelona in the Champions League last-16 first leg. Kimpembe appeared at home on the big stage and, with Thiago Silva soon turning 33, he and Marquinhos look set to be the long-term centre-back pairing in Paris.”

Nonetheless, this was all about Mbappe validating his move to Paris to continue his career and help Neymar and Edinson Cavani and company at club level. France have three more games in World Cup qualification: Sept. 3 at home to Luxembourg, Oct 7 away to Bulgaria and Oct. 10 at home to Belarus. All are expected to be victories, if form is to be believed.

“It is with great joy and pride that I join Paris Saint-Germain,” said Mbappé on his signing. “For any young person from the Paris region, it is often a dream to wear the red and blue jersey and experience the unique atmosphere of the Parc des Princes. I really wanted to be a part of the club’s project, which is one of the most ambitious in Europe. Alongside my new teammates, I intend to continue my progression while helping the team achieve the very big objectives it has set itself.”

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World Cup Qualifiers
@joryansalazar

Jo-Ryan Salazar is a writer for The Stoppage Time, a soccer blog powered by Azteca Soccer. A supporter of the Los Angeles Galaxy since 1996 and a committed supporter since 2002, Jo-Ryan also follows Chelsea FC, Melbourne Victory, FC Tokyo and Paris Saint-Germain. Apart from soccer, Jo-Ryan is an administrative assistant for a local nonprofit in Long Beach, California and also does photography, photo-editing and fictional writing.

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