France are through to the World Cup final after shutting Belgium out, and though he didn’t score today, teenage lightning bolt Kylian Mbappé was the most exciting player on the field. At this point, there’s nothing his opponents or even his own manager can do to prevent this from being the case.
French manager Didier Deschamps insists on playing an ultra-conservative style of soccer that lends itself well to 1-0 wins like today’s. Hotshot forward Ousmane Dembélé doesn’t play, while leaden midfielder Blaise Matuidi and Olivier Giroud—a Ken Doll who has yet to kick the ball correctly once in his career—are both regular starters. This would be boring if France did not have all-world ass-kickers like Paul Pogba and Antoine Griezmann to move the ball up the field, and Mbappé to embarrass every single defender in his way with astonishing runs.
Mbappé is, simply put, fast as shit. He spent the entire game just shredding Jan Vertonghen and the Belgian defense. France are comfortable playing on the break because they have the fastest player in the World Cup leading their attacking line, and they know he can beat anyone in a foot race. Just ask any member of the Argentina backline, who are probably still trying to identify the blue blur that sent them home.
Belgium, trying to prevent themselves from getting scorched the way France’s previous opponents have, gave Mbappé plenty of cushion to try and keep him in front of the back line. All this did, however, was give Mbappé more space to work with on the ball, and he almost made them pay for it a few times:
This is one of the wilder plays you will ever see in a World Cup semifinal.
Good luck to whoever advances out of the second semifinal game, because they’ll have to deal with the world’s scariest 19-year-old on Sunday.