Kylian Mbappe admitted he is flattered to have become the second-youngest player, after Brazil legend Pele, to have scored three goals at a World Cup after his double helped Les Bleus to a thrilling 4-3 round-of-16 win over Argentina.
Speaking with TF1 after the match, the Paris Saint-Germain man was happy with his performance, but will not be letting himself get carried away.
“That is good — it is a great competition,” Mbappe said of the statistic. “The biggest names are here — it is flattering. However, it will not stop me from working and going as far as possible in Russia.
“The press thought that I was sulking [prematch], but I did not want to be the spokesman — my role is to play, and today I was rewarded.”
Antoine Griezmann opened the scoring with a penalty, which was won by Mbappe, and the Atletico Madrid man admitted he got lucky but praised his teammate and expressed his hope for an Uruguay quarterfinal.
“I was lucky to wrong-foot the goalkeeper with my penalty,” said Griezmann to TF1. “I want to congratulate Kylian for his performance. At this level, everybody was good. We already had a good side, but we have raised our game — I hope that it will be like it was at Euro 2016.
“Portugal or Uruguay does not matter, but I would prefer Uruguay — good friends play for them.”
Later in the mixed zone, Griezmann elaborated on his praise for Mbappe and was satisfied with improvements in his own performance.
“Kylian has that power, that speed — he was exceptional,” he told journalists in Kazan. “Kylian, at this level, can go all the way — I hope that he will continue like this and that we can keep teeing him up.
“I am very happy. Like I said, I am getting better. I love matches like this one. There was plenty of space, so it was easier for us.”
Right-back Benjamin Pavard scored a spectacular second-half equaliser to make it 2-2 and admitted that it was an “emotional” moment.
“I am still emotional — I will not hide that,” the Stuttgart man told TF1. “I am happy with my goal and for the team too — it was a breath of fresh air. I like volleys and as a youngster, I used to practice them plenty.
“I am happy for myself, the squad and the French people — it was an important win against a very good team.
“After the match, I did not know what to do — my girlfriend was there and she was crying, I called my parents and my agent. It was a nice reward for me and everybody who has ever believed in me — I thank my teammates for their trust.”
Also speaking with TF1, captain Hugo Lloris said that there were “no words to describe this qualification” and that the team “went through all different emotions.”
“It was a great moment for this team and I hope that it will give us even greater confidence — the coach told us that he is proud of us,” the Tottenham Hotspur goalkeeper added.
“We want to enjoy ourselves, but we also realise that there is still a long way to go. We must not get too carried away.
“We responded at key moments, proved that we are a great team and we must continue that way. Portugal or Uruguay, whoever, we must rise to the occasion.”