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Mbappe: Team spirit can take youthful France to World Cup title

France start their campaign in Group C against Australia in Kazan on Saturday, with Kylian Mbappe and the Ousmane Dembele supporting Antoine Griezmann up front.

France’s Kylian Mbappe in action during their pre-World Cup match against USA. Picture: @equipedefrance/Twitter.

ROSTOV-ON-DON - France have one of the youngest teams at the World Cup, but Kylian Mbappe believes Les Bleus have what it takes to win the title in Russia if they all stick together.

France start their campaign in Group C against Australia in Kazan on Saturday, with the 19-year-old Mbappe and the 21-year-old Ousmane Dembele supporting Antoine Griezmann up front.

“We have a young team, yes, but if you look at it, you see we play at Barcelona, Madrid, Paris, Juventus, Manchester. Take any big European team, there’s at least one Frenchman,” PSG striker Mbappe told sports daily L’Equipe on Friday.

“Of course, we are young, but several players already have plenty of experience: Raphael Varane won several (four) Champions League titles with Real, Samuel Umtiti is in the starting 11 at Barca, Paul Pogba played four great seasons at Juve.

Youth is an excuse without being an excuse.

“I don’t like to talk about our age. Either you can, or you cannot.”

France are expected to top their group, which also features Denmark and Peru, but Mbappe admitted that they still lag behind Spain, Germany and Brazil, the competition’s top favourites.

“Let’s face it, Brazil, Spain and Germany are a little ahead of us. But in one competition you never know what can happen. We have potential, but if you look at everyone’s trophy list, ours fits on one piece of paper,” he said.

The squad’s mindset, however, can be a big boost for France, according to Mbappe.

“I know the players, and nobody is playing for themselves. Everyone wants to win and when you want that, you are ready to make sacrifices for your teammates,” he explained.

“We are a new generation that has just started blooming. Being a true team, what does that mean? Stick together, like each other, being able to run for your teammate.

“Then there is the work of the coach, but we have a great coach, there are no worries there,” he said of Didier Deschamps, who captained France to the World Cup title in 1998.

LISTEN: 2018 World Cup - Who will win the tournament?