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Mbappé and Hakimi return to PSG after World Cup heroics with France and Morocco

By Paul Myers - RFI
World Cup AP - Natacha Pisarenko
WED, 21 DEC 2022 LISTEN
AP - Natacha Pisarenko

France and Morocco stars Kylian Mbappé and Achraf Hakimi returned to training with Paris Saint-Germain on Wednesday after their historic exploits at the World Cup in Qatar.

Hakimi, 24, was part of the Morocco side that entered legend as the first team from Africa to reach the last four in the 92-year history of the World Cup.

Morocco lost to France 2-0 in the semi-final and went down to Croatia 2-1 in the third place play-off on Saturday.

On Sunday in the final against Argentina, Mbappé ignited France's fightback from 2-0 down with a confident penalty and a spectacular volleyed equaliser in two minutes in the closing stages of the 90 minutes at the Lusail Stadium.

After PSG teammate Lionel Messi had put Argentina 3-2 up during the second period of extra-time, Mbappé stroked home a second penalty with three minutes remaining to level the match at 3-3.

He also scored France's first penalty in the shootout.

But his heroics were to no avail. Kingsley Coman as well as Aurelién Tchouaméni botched their attempts fron the spot for France and Argentina claimed the shootout 4-2 and a third World Cup title.

Mbappé's return - just 72 hours after the heartbreak - was agreed with PSG boss Christophe Galtier and sporting director Luis Campos.

It is understood the striker - who claimed the Golden Boot in Qatar with eight goals - wants to maintain the form that brought that accolade.

Galtier's interests will be served too. Messi - who is celebrating the victory in Argentina - is unlikely to return to training until after PSG's top flight game against Strasbourg on 28 December. Neymar is also absent. 

Mbappé, Messi and Neymar were in dynamic form before the break for the World Cup in early December. They had scored 30 of PSG's 43 goals in 15 games to send them five points clear of second-placed Lens.

Hakimi had been a key component of a miserly defence that had conceded only nine times.

A day after PSG entertain Strasbourg at the Parc des Princes, Lens play at mid-table Nice.

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Started: 02-07-2024 | Ends: 31-10-2024

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