Mbappé, the statute of freedom / League of Nations / Gr. A / France-Austria (2-0) /

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


It is never by chance or to say nothing that Kylian Mbappé chooses to face the press after a game, whether at Blues or PSG. Thursday afternoon, more than an hour after the final whistle of a match won without trembling of the France team against Austria (2-0) in which he was the first scorer and main architect, the 10 tricolor landed in a mixed zone and, just over three minutes later, several questions arose, including one about the observers’ feeling of having seen him a little more liberated than since the start of the season in his catches and calls were enough for him. Mbappé’s response was clear, sharp and precise: “Yes, I play different. Here they ask me other things in relation to my club. I have much more freedom. The technician knows that there is a 9 like Olive, who occupies the defenses and that I can walk and go out into space. In Paris, it is different. There isn’t that. They ask me to turn. » 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 Statistics

Facing a flashy but quickly overpowered Austria amidst an armored Stade de France, Kylian Mbappe quickly became a headache for Ralf Rangnick’s men. “I dare to say that if he had played for us, it would not have been the same match” , even the German coach smiled after the second consecutive defeat of his troop. These are eloquent figures to illustrate the omnipresence of the PSG player, who by the way has entered the top 10 of the best scorers in the history of the Blues with 28 goals. In just over 90 minutes on the pitch, during which we never saw him stop walking, Mbappé touched 87 balls, one less than Aurélien Tchouaméni and the third highest total of the afternoon among the players lying on the scoresheet, 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 attempted shots (three on target, one goal); fourteen attempted dribbles (for seven successful, or as many as against Belgium in the 2018 World Cup semi-finals) where he has attempted half since the start of the season with PSG; three key passes – no one did better at night – 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 the selection that Mbappé proposes.

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

In the trigger more than in the accompaniment

Posed alongside Olivier Giroud at the head of a 3-4-1-2 set up by Didier Deschamps on Thursday night, whose animation differs from the more positional one he knows at PSG, Mbappé was able to find a more multiple, more Neymarian role. in the tricolor structure. In particular, he had the pleasure of being more at the forefront of the game and more often triggering the movement than accompanying it, his Parisian mission being above all to threaten the opposing defensive line without the ball to create creative spaces for Messi and Neymar. . . In that record, when he promises not to multiply his touches on the ball and to play and rely on his speed, the 23-year-old, who has nevertheless already stood up nine times in ten games in all competitions for his club this season, it is an invaluable weapon. This back-to-school international match against Austria proved it again, even more so when Kylian Mbappé, still sometimes inaccurate in the last gesture, finds next to him a replacement of the caliber of Olivier Giroud and the players, Benoît Badiashile and Youssouf . Fofana in particular, capable of sustaining his ideas. Thus, the Parisian striker unpacked all versions of the game from him and blew up the boxes.

We saw him come to bring ligature between the lines, as in this situation in which, found by Griezmann between the two Austrian midfielders, he would finish off a Tchouameni in the face and in a scoring situation.

Then we saw him come and take left half space, his zone, only for Badiashile to find him with space in the back…

…and then destroy the potential Austrian defense…

… quickly…

…before finding Fofana in front of the box. This collective movement will be completed by the right and in the axis with a counterattack from Griezmann.

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

Once again in seconds where, found by Badiashile…

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

Third similar situation at the appointed time: this time played by Tchouameni, Mbappé, in Neymar’s position, will catch a cold again from an Austrian center-back…

… trusting Giroud in a single touch…

… perfect comeback in Mbappé’s career…

… but then it goes back badly supported.

Lastly, we have also seen him come out from the bottom in situations where his positions have been cleverly offset by Fofana…

…and subtly exploit the opponent’s structure with this pass to Griezmann, who will then switch Clauss into an attacking position.

Against Austria, Mbappé, who was a frequent target of a bold Badiashile in construction and a tool to penetrate deep through Tchouaméni’s openings, was part of all the dangerous French moves and teamed up perfectly with his attacking friends (10 balls received from Griezmann, 7 dice in return; 7 given to Giroud against 6 received). Of course, his freedom also has consequences. An individual, first, the Parisian, a scorer in a solo career, who can sometimes abuse it by wanting to embark on a series of dribbles (2me41me) while never being so destructive as when he limits himself to simplicity. A group, then, the freedom of him marching on Thursday night 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 first and foremost before another debate to be decided: to unite his most complete offensive weapon, will he be able to do without such precious Giroud? Through his performance, Kylian Mbappé, whom Christophe Galtier originally wanted to use alongside a “benchmark in the penalty area” that the PSG never found, in any case it spun some additional arguments in favor of the opposite. He also remembered one thing: he wants to be the center of attention, both in the club and in the national team, where this week he dressed as a boss on and off the field, pushing the FFF, with the support of his partners. . , to start a roller coaster in the agreement on the image rights of the Blues. “The whole team wanted thisinsisted on the mixed zone. Afterwards, I don’t mind being in front of the stage if it’s beneficial for my teammates. Being criticized will not change the way I play and live. » Free, they said.

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

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