The Wall Street Journal: France beats Argentina in World Cup as Messi faces reckoning

KAZAN, Russia—On the day the World Cup bid farewell to the greatest player on the planet, it didn’t have to look far for a potential successor. He was right there on the same field as Lionel Messi, doing Lionel Messi things—only faster and in French.

His name is Kylian Mbappé. He’s 19 years old. And he’s going to be around for a while.

In one of the all-time great coming-out performances at a World Cup, Mbappé scored a pair of decisive goals, terrorized Argentina’s defense and sent France into the quarterfinals with a 4-3 victory. More than that, Mbappé signaled that when the time comes for Argentina’s Messi to pass the torch, the Parisian kid with a turbo engine was ready to sprint away with it.

The last teenager to score twice in a World Cup game? A Brazilian named Pelé in the 1958 final. Mbappé is so young that he doesn’t remember the last time France won the World Cup in 1998. He was born five months after the tournament.

An expanded version of this article appears at WSJ.com

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