Kylian Mbappe: From World Cup Hero to Euro Enigma

Kylian Mbappe, the prodigious talent who dazzled the world with his performances in the 2018 World Cup, has found the European Championship to be a different challenge altogether. Despite his meteoric rise and undeniable talent, Mbappe’s performances in the Euros have not lived up to the lofty expectations set by his World Cup heroics.

World Cup Glory

Mbappe burst onto the international scene during the 2018 World Cup in Russia, where as a teenager, he showcased breathtaking pace, clinical finishing, and an ability to perform on the grandest stage. His four goals in the tournament played a pivotal role in France clinching their second World Cup title after a gap of 20 years. His standout moment came in the final against Croatia, where he became only the second teenager after Pele to score in a World Cup final.

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Euro 2020 Disappointment

However, the transition to the European Championship has not been as smooth for Mbappe. In Euro 2020, held in 2021 due to the pandemic, Mbappe failed to replicate his World Cup form. Despite being a key figure for France, he struggled to make a significant impact, and notably missed a crucial penalty in the shootout against Switzerland, leading to France’s early exit in the Round of 16. This marked a stark contrast to his heroics in Russia just three years prior.

Euro 2024: Another Missed Opportunity

Fast forward to Euro 2024, held in Germany, where Mbappe was expected to lead a talented French squad once again. As the captain and one of the most expensive players in football history following his move to Real Madrid, expectations were sky-high. However, despite his stature and talent, Mbappe and France faltered in the semifinals against Spain, with Mbappe himself labeling the tournament as a “failure.”

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Analysis: Why the Struggles in Euros?

Several factors could contribute to Mbappe’s struggles in the Euros compared to his success in the World Cup:

  1. Expectations and Pressure: As a young talent, Mbappe thrived under the relative freedom and excitement of the World Cup atmosphere. The burden of expectation as a key figure in the Euros might have weighed heavily on him.
  2. Tactical Adjustments: International tournaments often require teams to adapt tactically, which can affect individual players differently. Mbappe’s playing style may be more suited to the open, fast-paced nature of World Cup football than the more strategic and cautious approach sometimes seen in Euros.
  3. Opposition Preparation: Teams in the Euros, especially in knockout stages, tend to study and prepare meticulously for key players like Mbappe, which can limit their effectiveness.
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Kylian Mbappe remains a phenomenal talent and a key figure in both club and international football. While he has shone brightly in World Cups, his performances in Euros have posed a challenge. As he continues to mature and develop, fans and analysts alike will watch with anticipation to see how Mbappe navigates future international tournaments, aiming to achieve the balance of consistency and brilliance that defines the greatest footballers of their generation.