Kylian Mbappe has been criticized for highlighting the lack of South American World Cup winners – only Brazil tasting success since Argentina won in 1986
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Lautaro Martinez has questioned Kylian Mbappe for claiming that South American football ‘isn’t as advanced’ as European football.
The 23-year-old Paris Saint-Germain striker believes that no South American nation has won the World Cup since Brazil triumphed over South Korea and Japan in 2002 due to the lack of competitiveness of the region. Italy, Spain, Germany and France have all won the contest since.
Mbappe was part of the latter team that won the World Cup in Russia four years ago, beating Croatia 4-2 in the final. The Frenchman is keen to defend his country’s title when the tournament kicks off in Qatar in November and ends the following month.
“Argentina didn’t play high quality matches to reach the World Cup,” Mbappe told TNT Sports Brasil recently. “In South America, football is not as advanced as in Europe. That’s why, if you look at the last World Cups, it’s always the Europeans who win.”
Still, Inter Milan striker Martinez disagrees with Mbappe. The 24-year-old, who helped Argentina win the Copa America last summer, aims to inspire his country to their first World Cup triumph since 1986. Argentina lost 1-0 to Germany in the 2014 final.
“Most of us who got called up are in Europe and every day, even every practice, you go up against them,” Lautaro told TyC Sports. “That’s why I will say that we feel good and we are working on the ideas that the coach asks us.
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“We’re happy with how it’s working and what we’re doing on the pitch. I’ve seen what [Mbappe] said, but Argentina and Brazil have high quality and talented players. Brazil, like us, have most of their players in Europe. I thought that was an unfair comment.”
Despite Mbappe’s comments, Brazil are the favorites to win this year’s World Cup. Argentina are also tipped to challenge for the trophy, while France are the second favorites. English fans will be delighted to hear that they are the bookmakers’ third favorites.
Aston Villa and Argentina goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez added: “Bolivia in La Paz, Ecuador with 30 degrees Celsius heat, Colombia where you can’t even breathe…they [in Europe] still play on perfect pitches and have no idea what South America is all about.
“Every time you travel with the national team you have two days back and forth, you’re exhausted and you can’t train much. When an England player goes to train, he’s on the ground in one half hour. Let him go to Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador and see if it’s that easy.”
Liverpool and Brazil midfielder Fabinho has also been asked for his thoughts on Mbappe’s comments ahead of the Champions League final between the Reds and Real Madrid. “It’s completely different, it’s not simple,” he said.
“We now have to play in places like Bolivia, I don’t know if France have played there. I imagine Brazil and Argentina would finish first in the European qualifiers squads.”