DOHA, QATAR - Wednesday, November 30, 2022: France's Ibrahima Konaté during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Group D match between Tunisia and France at the Education City Stadium. Tunisia won 1-0. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Incredible stat emerges as “monster” Ibrahima Konate helps France to final

Ibrahima Konate played a key role in France’s 2-0 victory over Morocco in the semi-finals of the World Cup, with one stat summing his tournament up.

It has been a strange but successful World Cup for Konate so far, finding himself third-choice centre-back but clearly outperforming those ahead of him.

Raphael Varane’s place as the most senior starter at the back is understandable, but the gulf in output between Liverpool’s No. 5 and his former RB Leipzig team-mate, Dayot Upamecano, has been vast.

With Upamecano sidelined due to illness on Wednesday night, Konate was given a big chance to shine again, as he partnered Varane in the semi-finals.

Up against the tournament underdogs in Morocco, it was set up as a tough test for the France defence, but Konate excelled in a standout performance for the now-finalists.

Taking his place as left-sided centre-back, rather than the right-sided role he fills for Liverpool, the 23-year-old utilised his pace, strength, reading of play and quality on the ball to his advantage.

At one point during the game, the official France national team account tweeted: “Ibou is monstrous.”

That fact has been hammered home by a statistic from Opta, who have revealed that Konate has averaged 6.9 tackles and interceptions per 90 minutes so far in Qatar.

That is the most of any player who has started three or more games, with Wednesday bringing his third start and a fourth appearance at this year’s tournament.

The Netherlands’ Teun Koopmeiners (6.1) was the next closest, with Upamecano (four) considerably behind according to WhoScored.

Konate is the only Liverpool player left at the World Cup, with the other six representatives now due to rejoin the squad for preparations on Merseyside next week.

And his display against Morocco did not go unnoticed, with many supporters now calling for him to start the final against Argentina:

It is becoming a trend of Konate’s young career that he is bizarrely underrated while wildly exceeding expectations, which has been the case with those on the outside looking in at club level.

But Liverpool supporters have long known this is a world-class centre-back in the making – and in three days’ time, Konate could be a world champion.