The dazzling Kylian Mbappe showcases his range of talents to inspire France to win | World Cup 2022

w44 minutes after the vast, lofty, overly-engineered Al Janoub Stadium disappeared, Kylian Mbappe He did something very unusual, perhaps unique in the modern history of the World Cup. Basically, he missed an open goal from six yards. No big shakes. that happens. ball, bounce, angles, collisions.

It’s still a bit of a physical mess.

But missing Mbappe was different. He did not kidnap her, deceive her, or prod her. The problem wasn’t fatigue or leaning back. Staples will not work here. Mbappe missed an open goal haughtily. The problem was Antoine Griezmann’s cross at full capacity with the match against Australia He had to be pushed out of existence, Mbappe was just too arrogant to score.

was apathetic. It was very cold. Cinematically sliding into the arc of the ball, he basically tried to score twice, to the net zing, the net bulge, the moment creation, the freeze frame and the golden montage. Instead he smashed it over the bar.

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This is a World Cup like no other. For the past 12 years, the Guardian has been reporting on the issues surrounding Qatar 2022, from corruption and human rights abuses to the treatment of migrant workers and discriminatory laws. The best of our journalism is collected on our dedication Qatar: Beyond Football Home for those who want to dig deeper into issues off the pitch.

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Mbappe smiled, shook his head, and fanned out the net.

This is football. Sometimes it’s a toe, a leg, or a scuff. Sometimes, you’re just too arrogant to sign up. The key is to go back again, go back and zoom in on the exact same spot over and over again.

The score was 2-1 at the time. Australia hit the post two minutes later. But the truth is France They were simply sprinting through them at that point, Mbappe barely leaving a dent in the lime green turf, a man moving through light air and gravity often, on his way to a 4-1 win for France that could have really been anything.

Welcome to Mbappe’s hair, an occasion that was great even in this great sports life. It can be hard to keep up with the many layers of Mbappe’s identity in this regard world Cup. Mbappe is the main creative hope of France. Mbappe is a paid employee in the State of Qatar. Mbappe does billboards in Doha. Mbappe wants to leave Paris. Mbappe is the best soccer player on the planet.

Plus he has energy these days like no other athlete. This is not a soccer player now so much as a premium sporting good, traded, stored and displayed like a private Picasso. Currencies fluctuate, and exchange rates change at every twitch and yawn. Talk of his dissatisfaction at PSG has already run rabbits.

Even this is a novel. Seen in the past as a broken butterfly on the wheel, this kind of cute and overly-built footballer is football-sensitive stuff for exploiting and stretching skinny. Mbappe is a butterfly, a great footballer. But he is also, to an unprecedented degree, a powerful player in this world, the broker of his own talent. Mbappe is the wheel.

And of course, because he’s brilliant, razor-sharp, and largely unstoppable, he scored here, heading in Ousmane Dembele’s cross early in the second half to make it 3-1.

Olivier Giroud celebrates after scoring the fourth goal for France
Olivier Giroud celebrates after scoring the fourth goal for France. Photo: Clive Mason/Getty Images

It also seems significant that it was Mbappe’s initial pass that sparked the move, because Mbappe, too, never stopped moving, working, running and brain whizzing, and was engaged every moment in trying to win this match. Five minutes later, he set up the fourth goal, crossing for Olivier Giroud to score his second goal and the 51st for France.

There was a lot of talk before this tournament about France’s missing players. Absent the Ballon d’Or, Didier Deschamps went with a front three of Mbappe, Dembélé and of course the grandiose and hugely reassuring Giroud, the mahogany sideboard of world football. Giroud is a different kind of Marvel, still the same bespoke blend of rumbling physical awesomeness and something strangely different in his character from his 15 years in an elite career.

And who knows how good France will be when this tournament starts to wind down. The defense looked shaky here at first. They fell behind in the game, with Craig Goodwin finishing brilliantly after Lucas Hernandez twisted his knee when he turned to block and catch Matthew Leckie.

France needed 17 minutes to equalise, and Adrien Rabiot nodded in a deep cross from substitute Theo Hernandez. And now Mbappe was passing Nathaniel Atkinson with alarming ease. Mbappe doesn’t really work in the normal sense of the word when he puts those motivations to work. It drifts, it floats, it shimmers, it moves in a way that seems so inviting that you wonder why every erect bipedal human doesn’t do it like that.

Not long after 2-1, that was Rabiot’s work as well, kicking the ball high up the field. Mbappe jumped the ball back to him, Rabiot crossed and Giroud fired the ball into the net.

After that, Mbappe started dancing, spinning and adding a few shivers to his routine. It seemed, frankly, a lot at times. But it is likely to have an effect. Imagine that you are trying to confront this thing. From a distance, Mbappé’s character is something of an exciting thing to watch, oddly elevating all amour possessions on a planetary scale.

Here is a man so happy in his own skin, in his dazzling talent. Much tougher challenges await than those faced by the yellow-shirted footballers.

But Mbappe, you know, he’s not going to stop, he’s going to play like that, he’s going to be exactly the same. Some kind of termination is within his reach for the next three weeks. In either case, the viewing will be compulsive.

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