Kylian Mbappe leads France’s line-up of young stars hoping to rule in Russia

Posted on

TEENAGE megastar Kylian Mbappe and the killer kids are fuelling hope that France’s stunning feats of 1998 can be replicated 20 years on.

Youngsters Thierry Henry, David Trezegeut plus emerging Zinedine Zidane joined experienced Laurent Blanc, Marcel Desailly and Yourri Djorkaeff to lead Le Blues to a World Cup win on home soil.

A $231 million signing for PSG from Monaco last season, Mbappe is just 15 days older than the Socceroos’ Daniel Arzani, who is officially the youngest player in Russia.

SOCCEROOS: No time left for experiments

NEXT GEN: 10 Rising stars to watch in Russia

Mbappe headlines a youthful batch of 2018 stars including Thomas Lemar (Monaco), Ousmane Dembele (Barcelona) and Corentin Tolisso (Bayern Munich).

A backbone as strong as any at the 2018 World Cup includes Hugo Lloris (Tottenham), Raphael Varane (Real Madrid), Paul Pogba (Manchester United), Antoine Griezmann (Atletico Madrid) and Olivier Giroud (Chelsea).

As France prepare to face the Socceroos in Saturday’s Russia 2018 Group C opener, Mbappe told FIFA TV that trophies were the goal.

“In football you make progress when you win trophies,’’ Mbappe said.

“You have to win and I think we’ve brought a desire, because when you are a young player playing for your country, you desperately want to make a difference.

“We’ve also brought with us that carefree attitude that’s associated with youth.”

France coach Didier Deschamps, who captained the team to the ’98 crown, was quick to move onto Russia 2018 after they lost the Euro 2016 final to Portugal on home soil.

The injection of youth aided the shift in focus and Deschamps said age was irrelevant

“I go by the principal that if a young person — even if he’s only 19 — can get more results than a guy in his 30s, I’m not going to check his date of birth, I’m going to pick the youngster,’’ Deschamps said.

Giroud, who scored the first goal at Euro 2016, was still smarting from that missed opportunity but said France had to win silverware before they could be dubbed special.

“The golden generation? No, because we haven’t won anything yet,’’ Giroud said.

“But we certainly do have a very good generation of players with some fantastic youngsters coming through. I think there’s very good chemistry between the youngsters and the older players like me.

“It (Euro 2016) was almost the perfect tournament. Almost because of course we didn’t end up winning it, but we had a great European Championship and we’re proud of what we achieved.”

Original Post