After inspiring France, Mbappe will start German clash

France's Kylian Mbappe firing the shot that led to Iceland's Holmar Orn Eyjolfsson scoring an own goal.
France's Kylian Mbappe firing the shot that led to Iceland's Holmar Orn Eyjolfsson scoring an own goal.PHOTO: REUTERS

GUINGAMP (France) • France coach Didier Deschamps has said that teenage superstar Kylian Mbappe will be fit for Tuesday's showdown with Germany, after a thigh issue meant he started on the bench in Thursday's dramatic 2-2 home draw with Iceland.

The 19-year-old inspired a fightback from two goals down, forcing an own goal in the 86th minute and scoring a penalty in stoppage time for the world champions.

Asked why Mbappe did not start the friendly match, Deschamps said: "On Wednesday, he felt muscle discomfort in his thigh. He did not have a good feeling.

"I did not want to take any risk and neither did he. After the warm-up, it was much better, he was more liberated.

"This half hour will be beneficial for the (Uefa Nations League) match (against Germany)."

Birkir Bjarnason swept Iceland ahead from the edge of the area on 30 minutes, and Kari Arnason's excellent second-half header doubled their lead in Guingamp.

But Mbappe, brought on as a substitute for the final half-hour, gave France a lifeline when his shot was saved and then inadvertently turned in by Iceland defender Holmar Orn Eyjolfsson.

 
 
 

The Paris Saint-Germain forward then levelled from the penalty spot in the 90th minute, after Kolbeinn Sigthorsson handled at a corner.

"He creates gaps and danger for the opponent," Deschamps said of the in-form Mbappe, who scored four goals in 13 minutes for PSG last week.

"These are his specific characteristics. He brought speed and precision. It made us feel good."

Mbappe made headlines in September last year when he moved from French Ligue One side Monaco to PSG for a staggering €180 million (S$287 million).

And his stock skyrocketed during this year's World Cup, where a series of phenomenal displays drew compliments from Brazil legend Pele, as he helped France end their 20-year wait for another World Cup trophy.

Mbappe was also nominated for the Ballon d'Or this week although he has insisted that he is trying to not pay attention to his chances.

"I prefer to think of the collective, it is thanks to my teammates at PSG and in the national team that I am there (in the list of nominees)," he told TF1 .

He also earned an appearance on the cover of Time magazine's international edition yesterday. Time said that Mbappe is a global superstar who "is the future of soccer".

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 13, 2018, with the headline 'After inspiring France, Mbappe will start German clash'. Print Edition | Subscribe