Scorer against Austria on Thursday evening, the PSG striker has above all found a freer role than in the club in the tricolor structure and delivered a complete meeting thanks to teammates who accompanied him perfectly in his ideas. Decryption.


It is never quite by chance or to say nothing that Kylian Mbappé chooses to come face the press after a match, at the Blues as at PSG. Thursday evening, more than an hour after the final whistle of a meeting won without trembling by the France team against Austria (2-0) in which he was the first scorer and the main creator, the number 10 tricolor therefore landed in the mixed zone and, a little more than three minutes later, several running questions, including one on the feeling of the observers to have seen him a bit more liberated than since the start of the season in his shots ball and his calls, were enough. Mbappé’s response was clear, crisp and precise: “Yes, I play differently. I am asked other things here in relation to my club. I have a lot more freedom. The coach knows that there is a number 9 like Olive, who occupies the defenses and that I can walk around and go into space. In Paris, it’s different. There isn’t that. I’m being asked to pivot. » A message sent to PSG, of course, but also the intention of an ideal: that of not being locked into a role and being a total offensive player.

Multiplied stats

Facing an eye-catching but quickly dominated Austria in the middle of an armored Stade de France, Kylian Mbappé quickly became a headache for Ralf Rangnick’s men. “I dare say that if he had played for us, it would not have been the same game” , even smiled the German technician after the second consecutive defeat of his troop. Some figures are telling to illustrate the omnipresence of the PSG player, who has, by the way, entered the top 10 of the best scorers in the history of the Blues with 28 achievements. In just over 90 minutes on the grass, during which we never saw him stop walking, Mbappé touched 87 balls, one less than Aurélien Tchouaméni and the third highest total of the evening among players lying on the score sheet, but above all much more than since the start of the season when, in all competitions, the Parisian touches on average just under 60 balls per game. Throughout the evening, Kylian Mbappé increased his individual statistics: seven shots attempted (three on target, one goal); fourteen dribbles attempted (for seven successful, or as many as against Belgium in the semi-finals of the 2018 World Cup) where he has attempted on average half as many since the start of the season with PSG; three key passes – no one did better during the evening – against 1.29 per game on average since August at the club. The context and the opponents are different, but these differences also accompany the freer role in selection put forward by Mbappé.

Map of the 87 balls touched by Kylian Mbappé against Austria (Whoscored).

At the trigger more than at the accompaniment

Posed alongside Olivier Giroud at the front of a 3-4-1-2 reinstalled by Didier Deschamps on Thursday evening, whose animation differs from the more positional one he knows at PSG, Mbappé was indeed able to find a more multiple, more Neymarian role in the tricolor structure. He notably had the pleasure of being more in front of the game and more often in the triggering of the movement than in his accompaniment, his Parisian mission being above all to threaten the opposing defensive line without the ball to create creative spaces for Messi and Neymar. . In this register, when he agrees not to multiply the touches of the ball and to play and rely on his speed, the 23-year-old player, who has nevertheless already planted nine times in ten meetings in all competitions with his club this season, is an invaluable weapon. This international back-to-school match against Austria proved it again, all the more so when Kylian Mbappé, still sometimes imprecise in the last gesture, finds at his side a relay of the caliber of Olivier Giroud and the players , Benoît Badiashile and Youssouf Fofana in particular, capable of supporting his ideas. Thus, the Parisian striker unpacked all the versions of his game and made the boxes fly.

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We saw him come to bring binder between the lines, as in this situation where, found by Griezmann between the two Austrian central midfielders, he will put away towards a Tchouameni facing the game and in a situation to strike.

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We then saw him come and clinch left half space – his zone – only to be found by Badiashile with space in his back…

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…and then blast the potential Austrian defence…

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… quickly…

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… before finding Fofana in front of the box. This collective movement will be completed on the right side and in the axis with a counter strike from Griezmann.

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We also saw him lean on Giroud for the first time in the first period in a situation where he will then miss his ball control.

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Once again in seconds where, found by Badiashile…

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… he will be able to turn around and lean on the blue 9. His pass will be too strong.

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Third similar situation at the hour mark: this time touched by Tchouameni, Mbappé, in a Neymar-like position, will again catch a cold from an Austrian central …

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… relying on Giroud in one touch…

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… perfect comeback in Mbappé’s race…

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… but then goes again badly supported.

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Finally, we have also seen him start from lower in situations where his stalls have been intelligently compensated by Fofana…

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… and subtly blast the opponent structure with this pass for Griezmann, who will then shift Clauss into a striking position.

Against Austria, Mbappé, who was a frequent target for an audaciously built Badiashile and a tool to poke deep through Tchouaméni’s openings, was part of all the dangerous French moves and teamed up perfectly with his attacking friends (10 balloons received from Griezmann, 7 given in exchange; 7 given to Giroud against 6 received). Of course, his freedom also has consequences. An individual, first, the Parisian, scorer on a solo rush, sometimes being able to abuse it by wanting to embark on a series of dribbles (2e41e) while it is never as destructive as when it constrains itself to simplicity. A collective, then, his freedom marching Thursday evening on the offensive expression of a Ferland Mendy, which Didier Deschamps did not deny. Two months before the World Cup in Qatar, here is the coach above all facing another debate to be decided: to join his most complete offensive weapon, can he do without such a precious Giroud? Through his performance, Kylian Mbappé, whom Christophe Galtier originally wanted to use alongside a “reference point in the penalty area” that PSG never found, in any case spun some additional arguments in favor of the contrary. He also recalled one thing: he wants to be at the center of attention, in the club as well as in the selection, where he donned the boss’s costume this week on and off the field, pushing the FFF, with the support of his partners. , to start a backpedal on the convention on the rights to the image of the Blues. “The whole team wanted thishe insisted in the mixed zone. Afterwards, I don’t mind being on the front of the stage if it’s beneficial for my teammates. Getting criticized won’t change the way I play and live. » Free, they said.

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By Maxime Brigand and Clément Gavard, at the Stade de France
Statement by Kylian Mbappé collected by CG


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Peggy McColl

Mentor l NY Times Bestselling Author. Hi, I'm Peggy McColl, and I'm here to deliver a positive message to you!

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