There is arguably no more thrilling player at this World Cup than Kylian Mbappe, who leads France into their last-16 clash on Sunday with a Poland side whose own hopes of pulling off a famous upset will depend to a large extent on Robert Lewandowski.
It is a sobering thought that Mbappe, not 24 until later this month, may not yet be at the peak of his powers but he has already scored seven goals in 10 appearances at the World Cup.
That tally includes one in the 2018 final when he was still a teenager as France beat Croatia in Moscow.
His mission now is to help his country become the first to retain the World Cup since Brazil, with an even younger Pele, did so in 1962.
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Mbappe has already scored three times in Qatar, including a brace in a 2-1 victory against Denmark that secured qualification for the last 16, and there is a belief he is thriving as the undisputed star of Didier Deschamps’ side.
The situation is different to that of Paris Saint-Germain, where he shares the limelight with Lionel Messi and Neymar, and in that sense it may be that Karim Benzema’s withdrawal due to injury on the eve of the tournament does no harm to French hopes.
“Kylian has no ego,” insisted Deschamps a few days ago, going against the perception of Mbappe in the context of PSG.
“He is a decisive player for us and his performances put him in the spotlight. He is not 18 anymore. He has experience now.”
It wasn’t just Mbappe -– who now has as many international goals as Zinedine Zidane – that France missed as a second-string team lost 1-0 to Tunisia on Wednesday, a result that did not stop them topping their group.