Didier Deschamp’s holding World Cup champions France got off on the right foot tonight after Les Bleus produced a statement result of their own in a 4-1 win against Australia at Al Janoub Stadium.
On a day that saw another tournament heavyweight in Argentia succumb to a shock 2-1 loss against Saudi Arabia, France was expected to lay down a marker in Group D in the wake of Denmark and Tunisia playing out a 0-0 draw this afternoon and the European giants did just that.
A historic brace from Olivier Giroud saw the veteran AC Milan striker equal Thierry Henry’s national team goalscoring record at 51 goals and justifiably has received much of the plaudits at the head of a number of French players who produced excellent displays, including Mbappé.
The 23-year-old Paris Saint-Germain star had already garnered attention before kick-off tonight when he was confirmed in Deschamps’ XI and thus becoming the youngest player in France history to reach 60 caps, but his headed goal in the second half saw him reach another milestone in national team colors when he cracked into the top-ten goalscoring chart for France.
Mbappé now joins illustrious company on a list that contains the aforementioned Giroud and Henry, as well as current teammates Antoine Griezmann and Karim Benzema, as well as iconic French figures in the vein of Michel Platini, David Trezeguet, Zinedine Zidane, Just Fontaine, and Jean-Pierre Papin.
The Paris-born superstar is no stranger to making headlines for the national team either, having already become the youngest player since Pélé to score in a World Cup final four years ago when France dispatched Croatia 4-2 in Moscow, and the PSG talisman is already widely considered to arguably be the most talented player of his generation while undoubtedly being viewed as the standard bearer for his country.
With Mbappé now on five overall goals at the World Cup, many will expect other records to fall at his feet come to the end of what is to surely be one of the most talked about careers in French football history.