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Football

15th Jul 2018

Ivan Strinic’s handsy attempt to stop Kylian Mbappe did not go unnoticed

That'll slow any man down

Darragh Murphy

Defenders will have to get creative when it comes to stopping Kylian Mbappe.

You can’t give Mbappe too much space because his pace will destroy you but you also can’t get too tight on the French youngster because he has the skill to take the ball around you in a heartbeat and take advantage of his superior speed once you’re beaten.

What to do?

Well, if you’re Croatia’s Ivan Strinic, you get yourself a handful of Mbappe’s most sensitive area.

Mbappe failed to get going in the first half of Sunday’s World Cup final and it was clear that Croatia’s defenders had been warned to pay particular attention to France’s danger-man as he was marked out of the game in the opening 45 minutes.

It became very obvious in the dying moments of the first half just how close Croatia’s defenders were told to get to the 19-year-old (see the above image).

When most defenders feel like they’re beaten, they’ll tug on a jersey to stop an opponent’s progress but Strinic must have felt that the shirt wasn’t sufficient and we wonder what kind of treatment Mbappe received in the dressing room moments after the grab that didn’t go unnoticed by viewers.

And while he might be walking with a bit of a limp during France’s celebrations, Mbappe will still have a smile on his face after scoring his side’s fourth goal in Les Bleus’ dramatic 4-2 victory.