Didier Deschamps has hailed Kylian Mbappe after his match-winning goal saw France into the last 16 of the World Cup with a 1-0 victory against Peru on Thursday.
The 19-year-old became France’s youngest scorer at a World Cup when he prodded into an empty net on 34 minutes. He did not shirk his defensive duties either, providing extra cover in a tough second half as Peru attacked relentlessly.
“He’s got great qualities and he was able to show his pace today. I don’t think he sacrificed himself by defending. He just did what the team needed him to do. I’m very happy with his performance today,” Deschamps told a news conference.
“The attackers made an effort to make the team compact, working to recover the ball. With the quality showed by the Peruvian team, it was important to have a tight defence.”
Victory leaves France on top the group with six points while Denmark and Australia are on four and one respectively after their 1-1 draw earlier in the day.
Peru grew in confidence in the second half as they chased an equaliser but the South Americans could not find a way past France’s well-marshalled back line.
“We did what was necessary to win. Our game was fluid in the first half but things were a lot tougher in the second,” Deschamps added.
“I wasn’t nervous but not totally satisfied. We were not able to always keep the ball and we had to defend for long periods, though we did it well. We have to improve on this.”
A draw against Denmark in their final match is enough for Les Bleus to finish as group winners but the former midfielder said his team had only one objective.
“We will try to win. We would never think of finishing second. Everything will be decided after the third match.”