World Cup: Walker vs Mbappe – Tale of the Tape

TALE OF THE TAPE: Kyle Walker has been inserted to combat Kylian Mbappe’s pace but the Frenchman is FASTER in Qatar at 21.9mph! England’s right-back can use strength to his advantage and PSG forward has failed to score in four battles against Walker

  • England face France in the quarter-finals of the World Cup on Saturday evening
  • Kyle Walker will be tasked with stopping France’s speed demon Kylian Mbappe
  • Mbappe has recorded a higher top speed during the World Cup up until now
  • Walker though has recorded the higher top speed throughout his playing career
  • Click here to follow all the latest news in Sportsmail’s live World Cup blog

The most eagerly anticipated duel in Saturday’s quarter-final between France and England, will be the one on Les Bleus’ left flank as Kylian Mbappe goes head-to-head with Kyle Walker.

Mbappe has been blitzing the competition so far in Qatar with no-one being able to keep up with him – a big reason as to why he leads the tournament’s scoring charts on five goals.

The Frenchman though might finally be about to meet his match with Walker arguably the only right-back at the tournament who can keep up with him stride-for-stride.

Kylian Mbappe has recorded a higher top speed than Kyle Walker at the World Cup at 21.9mph

Most of the statistics lean in favour of Mbappe in the Tale of the Tape ahead of the quarter-final

Throughout their careers, Walker has recorded the higher speed, with the Man City star hitting 23.5mph during the 2019-20 Premier League season, compared to Mbappe’s personal best at 22.4mph.

However, in Qatar it is the Frenchman who has the slight advance on the man who he will be running against on Saturday evening.

As per FIFA’s statistics for the tournament, Mbappe has hit a top speed of 21.9mph in their last-16 game with Poland.

Walker meanwhile is more than 2mph down on his personal best at 21.4mph.

There could be several reasons for this – Walker only had surgery on a groin injury in October. However, there have also been reports that Mbappe has suffered with an ankle issue leading into the World Cup.

Walker has recorded a speed of 21.4mph but has the speed to combat Mbappe on Saturday

Walker is nearly a stone heavier than Mbappe and could use his strength to his advantage

It could also be argued that neither man has needed to hit their ultimate speed given their opposition at the World Cup so far.

With the pair likely to get in a foot-race at some point over the 90 plus minutes on Saturday, it’s very likely that they will need to branch out even further and it will be a surprise if both men don’t set personal tournament highs in Qatar.

In terms of height there is no difference with both men standing a 5ft 10, meaning neither man will have an advantage should a high ball come their way.

Walker carries more weight than Mbappe and therefore likely more strength with the Man City star last weighing 12st 8lb, while the Frenchman is at a leaner 11st 11lb. 

Encouragement can be taken for the 32-year-old in that the four times that Mbappe has come up against him, the Frenchman has failed to score.

They first played in a 3-2 victory for France in June 2017, when Mbappe provided the assist for Ousmane Dembele’s winning goal.

It was a match in which Walker was playing at left-back so didn’t come up against Mbappe, though he was left in the dirt for speed by Dembele.

Their next contest came in a 2-1 victory for Man City against Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League in April 2021 in a match where Walker was comfortably able to match Mbappe for speed – nullifying the Frenchman during the game.  

Mbappe has failed to score in any of the four meetings that he has come against Walker 

Mbappe is nine years younger than Walker but has won more trophies including the World Cup

In September that year in the same competition, Mbappe assisted Lionel Messi’s first goal for the club in a 2-0 victory for PSG. Though many of the attacks from the French side went down the opposite flank due to Walker’s presence.

In November, Man City gained a 2-1 victory and there was a memorable moment in favour of Walker.

Neymar robbed John Stones near the halfway line and puts Mbappe through on the counter-attack, but Walker’s pace closed the angle and the PSG forward curls his effort over.

In terms of achievements, it’s Mbappe who has the advantage over Walker – despite being nine years younger than his opposing rival.

Mbappe has won 12 major trophies during his career – most notably the World Cup in 2018, which his France team are looking to successfully defend.

Walker and England will be looking to bring Les Bleus’ title defence to an end, with the right-back hoping to add to the nine major trophies that he has won in his career – all of which have been at Manchester City.  

On Saturday, Walker will need every inch of his quality, experience and pure pace if he is to slow the advancing tide that will bear down on him at the Al Bayt Stadium.

England’s chances of reaching the semi-final could rely on whether Walker can stop Mbappe

Mbappe has been the star of the tournament, and Walker and his England teammates will need to find a way to slow him down.

Poland defender Matty Cash described Mbappe as the ‘quickest thing he’s ever seen’ in the match where Mbappe hit 21.9mph.

The Aston Villa defender though said he is convinced that Walker can offer the stoutest resistance in one of the most unenviable tasks in all of football.

He said:  ‘I spent the afternoon watching his (Mbappe’s) clips and I knew it was going to be a tough test, but when he gets the ball, stops and moves, he’s the quickest thing I’ve ever seen.

‘When he stands you up and moves, he does it really well. He drops the shoulder, goes short then long. I got into a couple of races with him and I did all right. You look over your shoulder and he’s there.’

“Kyle Walker’s got way more experience than me, so I don’t need to tell him anything.

‘He knows Mbappe is amazing, but I think Kyle Walker is England’s best right-back. So if anyone’s going to stop Mbappe, I think he’s the man to stop him.’

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