Football

Mbappe stars in France's 3-1 victory over World Cup hosts Russia

Kylian Mbappe sees a bright future for his partnership with Ousmane Dembele and Anthony Martial, after the trio impressed in France's 3-1 win over Russia at St Petersburg yesterday morning (Singapore time).

Mbappe scored twice and Paul Pogba netted a brilliant free-kick as the 1998 world champions bounced back from Friday's 3-2 home defeat by Colombia, while Fedor Smolov's goal for Russia proved to be only a consolation.

In the process, Mbappe, 19, became Les Bleus' youngest double scorer since 1933, reported the French Ligue 1 website.

With time on their side - Dembele is 20 and Martial 22 - France should certainly have no lack of options up front after the likes of Olivier Giroud, 31, and Antoine Griezmann, 27, retire.

"I'm happy, the most important thing was to win," Mbappe said after taking his international tally to three goals in 12 senior appearances. It's always good to beat records, but I don't go looking for that.

"It's simple to play with Ousmane and Anthony. We have to work on our understanding, but I think it was a good start."

Mbappe gave France a 40th-minute lead when he latched onto Pogba's through-ball, before cutting inside and lashing a low shot home despite the attentions of two Russian defenders, reported AFP.

Pogba doubled the advantage four minutes after the interval with a free-kick which curled into the bottom corner past the diving Andrey Lunev.

France coach Didier Deschamps said the Manchester United midfielder, who has found himself out of favour at Old Trafford under Jose Mourinho, was playing in a "comeback" match.

"It's been a while since he played a full game, it'll do him a lot of good," said Deschamps.

"Apart from the free-kick, he showed creativity and quality of pass, he has that in his locker."

After Smolov pulled a goal back, Mbappe restored France's two-goal cushion with seven minutes left, skipping past Roman Neustadter and firing in a shot which slipped through the grasp, and the legs, of Lunev.

Football