2022 World Cup | Kylian Mbappé sets multiple goal markers as France progress into the knockout stage with 2-1 win over Denmark

The 23-year-old French star is now joint-top scorer in Qatar with three goals, level with Ecuador’s Enner Valencia

Reigning champions France set down a marker for the rest of the tournament field at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar with an impressive 2-1 win over Denmark at Stadium 974 that saw Les Bleus become the first nation to qualify for the knockout stage.

A brace from 23-year-old superstar forward Kylian Mbappé made the difference on the night against Kasper Hjulmand’s De Rød-Hvide who came into the tournament boasting a pair of wins over France in the recent UEFA Nations League cycle, but Deschamps’ troops had other ideas tonight with Mbappé leading the charge that saw the two-time World Cup winners become the first nation since Brazil in 2006 to reach the knockout stage four years after winning the tournament.

While many - if not all - of France’s players can be pleased with their performances on the night, it was Mbappé has once again thrust himself into the limelight in service of his country with tonight another particularly special evening for the Paris native after he surpassed both Thierry Henry and Zinedine Zidane in France’s all-time goal chart at the World Cup.

His status in French football lore has only grown on the back of tonight’s performance as well, equalling Zindane’s all-time goal record for France at 31, with only iconic figures David Trezeguet, Karim Benzema, Michel Platini, Antoine Griezmann, Olivier Giroud and Thierry Henry ahead of him, with Trezeguet’s tally of 34 within striking distance during the current tournament.

Mbappé's brace of goals now sees him sitting on seven World Cup goals in his young career, good enough to see him halfway to besting Just Fontaine’s national team record of 13 goals for Les Bleus, but more impressively, the Parisian became just the second player to score seven goals on football’s biggest stage before the age of 24, joining none other than Pélé to achieve the feat.

These landmarks constitute further feathers in the cap of a player who continues to produce results for club and country during big moments since his emergence on the football landscape as a bright-eyed and bushy-tailed youngster while still on the books at AS Monaco before his move to PSG in 2018.

Not to be outdone, Mbappé has also drawn level with Lionel Messi’s scoring record at the World Cup, bettering the Argentine legend who needed 20 appearances to reach seven goals while Mbappé has needed just nine to hit the same tally.

With many expecting France to reach the final this winter, there is certainly scope to suggest that France’s standard-bearer could hit double-digit goals at the World Cup by the time the tournament reaches its conclusion.

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Andrew Thompson

US-based Football writer. German football guru with a wealth of experience in youth development and analysis. Data aficionado. Happily championing the notion that Americans have a knowledgeable voice in the beautiful game.

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