RT special World Cup host Peter Schmeichel says France deservedly booked a spot in the World Cup quarter-finals with their 4-3 win against Argentina, lauding teen sensation Kylian Mbappe as “football’s next superstar.”
A mazy run from Mbappe at Kazan Arena that began inside his own half drew a foul from Argentina defender Marcos Rojo in the area to let Antoine Griezmann coolly slot home an opener from the spot.
The 19-year-old then scored two second-half goals within four minutes of one another, to help his team to victory, along with a Benjamin Pavard screamer that Schmeichel singled out as possibly the goal of the tournament so far in a 4-3 win for Les Bleus.
“The right team got through, France played a lot better than Argentina. But what a game of football. Seven goals and so much drama! We had eight bookings and even at one point at half time we thought we'd see a red card as well,” Schmeichel said.
“We thought we’d see the famous Argentine temper flare, but it didn’t really develop into that. But what a game of football. We’ve seen some absolutely world star-class things tonight. Kylian Mbappe for instance, his performance was absolutely magnificent.
“As a precaution he was taken off later in the game, but he was on a hat-trick and we were thinking we’re gonna see this young lad, who will be the next superstar in football, we will see him score his first World Cup hat-trick.”
The man who scored the goal to ensure qualification for his side in the group stage, Marcos Rojo, was at fault for bundling over Mbappe for the penalty as the young PSG striker accelerated away from the goal.
Schmeichel said the defender’s actions prevented Argentina manager Jorge Sampaoli from being able to bring on a more attacking player, such as Juventus’ Gonzalo Higuain, at the death to threaten a goal.
“He’s going away from goal and at this point I don’t know what Marcos Rojo is doing here. Why is he bringing him down? Silly, stupid,” the former Manchester United and Denmark goalkeeper said.
With the victory, France set up a quarter-final in Nizhny Novgorod with the winners of the last 16 match between Portugal and Uruguay, who meet in Sochi later on Saturday.