Lionel Messi, Kylian Mbappe and Neymar sign off for World Cup duty with PSG win vs. Auxerre

Paris Saint-Germain finished unbeaten across all competitions at the FIFA World Cup break after a 4-0 home win over AJ Auxerre in Ligue 1 on Sunday. Star men Lionel Messi, Kylian Mbappe and Neymar all started and went an hour at Parc des Princes before their departure for Qatar to link up with Argentina, France, and Brazil respectively.

Mbappe was on target to open the scoring with Carlos Soler, Achraf Hakimi and Renato Sanches all scoring in the second half for Christophe Galtier’s men. As far as World Cup send-offs go, this was about as ideal as it could have possibly been for Les Parisiens with no injuries or fitness worries following a straightforward victory.

It took just 10 minutes for Mbappe to put PSG after some fine work from Messi to put Nuno Mendes in a position to assist the French superstar. After a largely pedestrian remainder of the opening 45, the hosts sprang to life early again in the second with Soler heading home from another Mendes ball in.

Auxerre were desperate to get themselves back into the contest having grown in confidence as the home side slumbered after their goal in the first half. Christophe Pelissier’s men were caught high up the pitch as Hakimi ran through to slot home from Soler’s assist as another World Cup-bound star signed off with a meaningful contribution.

Then it was the turn of Sanches, one of PSG’s snubbed contingent along with the likes of Sergio Ramos and Nordi Mukiele, to add to the scoring after coming off the bench after being teed up by Hugo Ekitike. The French youngster, desperate to get himself into the international conversation ahead of future tournaments, was then afforded the chance to complete the scoring.

Messi, Mbappe and Neymar are the names most eyes were on heading into the final match before the break for Qatar, but Soler, Mendes, Hakimi and Danilo Pereira also showed that nobody was ducking out through fear of late injury.

However, PSG’s star trio do head to the World Cup having scored a combined 30 goals across all competitions with another 21 to make 51 contributions towards goals scored so far this season meaning much will be expected of them. Argentina, France, and Brazil are all fancied to go deep in Qatar and based on the form and fitness of Messi, Mbappe and Neymar, all three countries stand good chances of being able to ride that good domestic form.

Seeing Presnel Kimpembe come on and feature as his return from injury continued will have been further good news for French boss Didier Deschamps who named his group midweek. Despite the focus on the big guns, though, the likes of Mendes, Soler and Hakimi will be worth keeping an eye on during the World Cup.

Mendes and Pereira are in the Portuguese squad which many expect to struggle in Group H with Ghana, Uruguay, and South Korea. Soler’s Spain are in a tough Group E with Keylor NavasCosta Rica, Germany and Japan while Hakimi and Morocco are in Group F with Belgium, Canada and Croatia.

PSG’s main men will dominate much of the discussion heading into the tournament, but this performance and result illustrated that some of Messi, Mbappe and Neymar’s teammates are worth getting excited for too.

 Source link

Back to top button