Paul Pogba produced a superbly complete midfield display as France booked their place in their third World Cup final with a 1-0 win over Belgium.
The Frenchman, following a period of Belgian domination early on, brought his team up the pitch with some surging runs and pinpoint deliveries through the lines to Kylian Mbappe and Antoine Griezmann.
But what impressed most was his presence in defence after Samuel Umtiti put Les Bleus ahead, battling for anything which came near France’s box.
Here are Pogba’s numbers from the game, illustrating just how effervescent he was in Saint Petersburg.
Paul Pogba's game by numbers vs. Belgium:
28 passes completed
4 tackles completed
3 chances created
1 take-on completed
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) July 10, 2018
No player deserves this more than Pogba. When the 25-year-old stated ahead of this World Cup that he was the most criticised player in the world, he was right: nobody in the game receives the same kind of derision from so many people.
Some of that is to do with him being a young, black, rich and successful muslim. Some of it has to do with his scary ability on the ball, and the expectations which come with that.
Last night, however, nobody was saying anything. This was Pogba’s moment to savour. He has already played in a Champions League final, Europa League final, FA Cup final, and European Championship final by the age of 25. He now has the chance to impress on the biggest stage of all this Sunday.