Youssouf Fofana of France has wished Kyle Walker luck in his mission to stop Kylian Mbappé in Saturday’s World Cup quarter-final, saying that if the England defender is successful in stopping his teammate, Ligue 1 clubs will be lining up for his winning formula..
The Paris Saint-Germain forward is the tournament’s leading goalscorer and a strong contender for the Golden Boot, having scored five goals in France’s four games. Walker was upbeat about his chances of muting Mbappé on Wednesday, saying he has no plans to “roll out the red carpet” for him when England plays France in the last four..
“Hats off to him; if he can stop Kylian, that’s fantastic,” Fofana, who plays for Monaco, said of Walker. “There are 19 other teams in France’s [Ligue 1] waiting for an answer on how to stop Kylian.” The truth is on display. On Saturday, we’ll see what happens. As Frenchmen, we all have faith in Kylian.”
Mbappé’s duel with Walker is expected to be crucial to France’s chances of becoming the first nation to win back-to-back World Cups since Brazil in 1962. England has made the semi-finals of the last two major tournaments, including the 2018 World Cup in Russia. They finished second in last year’s European Championship..
On Thursday, Mbappé was the last player to emerge from the tunnel at their Al Sadd base for full training, as France began their video analysis of England. “They are a great team with amazing individual players, and we’ve been following them since the Euros that they played at home and they’ve been playing really well,” Fofana said of England. “They’re supposed to have advanced, so it’ll be a fun game to play.” It’s a rivalry, a geographical rivalry – they’re neighbors, and our cultures are quite similar.”
The midfielder was asked what Mbappé thought of Walker’s comments ahead of the game. “I’m sorry, Kylian doesn’t really read the press,” said one..
He rarely reads about himself in the press. He is focused on the match. He will be more concerned with what he needs to do and what is expected of him than with the players he will face. He is cool-headed and determined.
Meanwhile, Dayot Upamecano of Bayern Munich is set to start in defense alongside Raphael Varane of Manchester United. When France Under-21s defeated England in their group-stage opener at the 2019 European Championship, Upamecano faced Phil Foden and Mason Mount. Mattéo Guendouzi, a midfielder, and Marcus Thuram, a forward, were also members of France’s squad at that tournament..
Former France center-back Marcel Desailly, who won the World Cup in 1998, was an inspiration to Upamecano, he said. “We talked before a couple of games and he gave me some advice,” he explained. “It’s a real treat to be able to speak with someone like that.” He was a winner, a warrior, and a fantastic role model for young French players. It’s great to have someone like that give you advice.