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Deschamps praises ‘leader’ Mbappe after his two goals put France into WC last 16

Deschamps praises ‘leader’ Mbappe after his two goals put France into WC last 16

DOHA (Qatar) Nov 27 France coach Didier Deschamps expressed his satisfaction after two goals from Kylian Mbappe gave his side a 2-1 win over Denmark on Saturday to book the defending champions’ place in the last 16 of the World Cup.

Mbappe scored both of France’s goals, in the 61st and 86th minute, to beat a combative Danish side and to become the second player to score seven World Cup goals before their 24th birthday after Brazilian legend Pele, reports Xinhua.

“Kylian is an exceptional player, he can be decisive, stand out and make a difference. Rivals have to rethink when they face him, but we have other players who support him and free him up when he plays”.

“He (Mbappe) is a great player, but he is part of an exception team. I have a great pool of players and I am very lucky to be able to count on the squad.

“He’s not very talkative, but he’s like a steam train on the pitch and gets the crowd going,” said Deschamps.

France have lost experienced players such as Karim Benzema, Paul Pogba and N’Golo Kante in the warm-up to the World Cup, but Deschamps said he was delighted with the players he had.

“Most of them don’t have 50 caps, but they play in top European teams and I have a quality squad with a great mentality. They are great players and a great team and work well as a team, with a great spirit on and off the pitch.”

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“Up until now, things have been going well,” he concluded.

Denmark coach Kasper Hjulmand was disappointed by the defeat, but insisted he was “very proud” of his players and was already setting his sights on Wednesday’s last group game, which they have to win against Australia.

“We can’t argue with France’s win, even though we were close to a great result,” he said. “In the second half, we were able to create some space through the wing and the full backs, we had a couple of chances, although it is normal for games to open up after the break.”

“We are very disappointed, but now we will pick it up for the game (against Australia) on Wednesday,” he said.

Denmark are in a similar situation to last year’s European Championship, when they needed to win their last match to qualify for the knockout rounds, but Hjulmund didn’t believe that was relevant.

“All games are different: last year we didn’t have any points at this situation (after two group games). We have to beat Australia, but we have to win by more than Tunisia may beat France. It will be ‘make or break,'” he commented, adding that in this World Cup “nobody” can take any results “for granted.”

Hjulmand also praised his “great” midfielder Christian Eriksen and said central defender and captain Simon Kjaer had missed the game through injury and was a big doubt for Wednesday.

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-IANS

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