Kylian Mbappe said he never imagined — “not even in my wildest dreams” — that he could help France reach the World Cup final after Les Bleus saw off Belgium 1-0 on Tuesday.
Samuel Umtiti’s 51st-minute header in the semifinal sent the French into the final, where they will be seeking their second win since 1998.
Mbappe appeared dangerous throughout, creating six scoring chances for his side. And the 19-year-old was overwhelmed at the thought of helping France reach the final in his first appearance at a World Cup.
“It is unbelievable. It is the dream of dreams, the dream of the future, everything,” Mbappe said. “I don’t have the words. Not even in my wildest dreams, and I am a big dreamer, would I have imagined this.
“There is still one more step to take, but we are proud of what we have done.”
Despite his exciting display, Mbappe rejected the idea that he could be seen as a Ballon d’Or contender.
“Not skipping the hard work and fighting for the group is one of my qualities — if I can help by running or shouting, then I will do it,” the Paris Saint-Germain wonderkid said. “I want to win the World Cup — the Ballon d’Or is not my problem.”
France President Emmanuel Macron was on hand for the game in St Petersburg and came down to the dressing room to celebrate with the players and staff.
“In the changing room, (coach) Didier Deschamps was happy. We were all happy, all hugging,” Mbappe said. “(France) President Emmanuel Macron came down to see us. Everyone is with us, we’re all in this together.
Asked what Macron said, Mbappe replied, “President Macron said that he would see us in the semifinals, and that he was going to come back to see us with the World Cup.”
Goal scorer Umtiti said the win had come on the back of the work of the entire team.
“A lot of pride,” said the defender. “We worked hard … I scored but we delivered a good match and I’m very proud of everyone. They worked in ‘98 and we worked today (Tuesday), we reached our target to get to the final. I’m very satisfied.”
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