Kylian Mbappe has skipped the start of France’s practice session a day ahead of the World Cup semifinal match against Belgium.

Mbappe was absent when the squad trained at St. Petersburg Stadium on Monday afternoon. Only the first 15 minutes of the session is open to media and it was unclear if he joined the team once reporters, photographers and camera crews were ushered out.

Earlier, France coach Didier Deschamps told a pre-match news conference that four of his players would only have a light training workout, but that all 23 would be fit to play.

Mbappe has scored three goals at the World Cup and struck fear into defences with his electrifying pace.

Kylian Mbappe of France consoles Lionel Messi of Argentina
Kylian Mbappe of France consoles Lionel Messi of Argentina
Meanwhile, Deschamps was bemused by a question during a news conference on the eve of the semifinal against Belgium.

A Russian journalist asked Deschamps for his thoughts on the performance on the Russia team, which reached the quarterfinals against most expectations. But Deschamps was only interested in talking about France vs. Belgium.

Pressing the translation device against his ear, a startled-looking Deschamps paused and asked the Fifa official sat nearby “are you sure he’s asking me this question? I should speak about Russia? Really?”

The Fifa official intervened, saying another question should be asked – at which point Deschamps – still sounding baffled – spoke again.

“We’re on the eve of a (semifinal) match. I’ve already spoken about Russia. I don’t really see the point, whether it’s for the French journalists, the foreign journalists, Belgian journalists, or others.”

Deschamps then added: “Right, let’s move on.”

Source: AP