MSOCOW, Russia - Kylian Mbappe and another supremely talented generation of French players may just be getting started after overcoming Croatia to win the World Cup in Russia.
While the 19-year-old is the poster boy for France's new crop of talent, the make-up of the squad suggests they have the youth and firepower to dominate international football for years to come. The average age of a fine back four of Benjamin Pavard, Raphael Varane, Samuel Umtiti and Lucas Hernandez is just 23.
Ousmane Dembele, who cost Barcelona 105 million euros ($123 million), played for just two minutes in the knockout stages, while France's other goalscorers on Sunday, Antoine Griezmann, 27, and Paul Pogba, 25, are in their prime.
In scoring his fourth goal of the tournament and France's fourth of a 4-2 win in the World Cup final in Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium, Mbappe - named young player of tournament - became the youngest player since Pele to score in football's biggest match. "I have a story to write, this is just the beginning," Mbappe warned the world. "I intend to go even further."
It is not the first time in Russia the lightning-quick Paris Saint-Germain forward has drawn comparisons with the Brazilian great. In scoring twice against Argentina in the last 16, Mbappe became the first teenager since Pele to score multiple goals in a World Cup game. "If Kylian keeps equalling my records like this I may have to dust my boots off again," tweeted Pele. After starring as a 17-year-old in 1958, Pele went on to win two more World Cups, and while Mbappe has much to do to match those feats, there is no telling how dominant a young French squad littered with world-class players can become.