Theo Hernandez wants to win World Cup for France and brother

Nov 27, 2022, 12:23 PM | Updated: Nov 28, 2022, 2:26 am
France's Kylian Mbappe celebrates with teammate Theo Hernandez after scoring his side's opening goa...

France's Kylian Mbappe celebrates with teammate Theo Hernandez after scoring his side's opening goal against Denmark during a World Cup group D soccer match at the Stadium 974 in Doha, Qatar, Saturday, Nov. 26, 2022. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)

(AP Photo/Martin Meissner)

              France's Lucas Hernandez leaves the pitch after getting injured during the World Cup group D soccer match between France and Australia, at the Al Janoub Stadium in Al Wakrah, Qatar, Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2022. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)
            
              France's Lucas Hernandez is helped off the pitch during the World Cup group D soccer match between France and Australia, at the Al Janoub Stadium in Al Wakrah, Qatar, Friday, Nov. 4, 2022. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
            
              France's Lucas Hernandez leaves the pitch after getting injured during the World Cup group D soccer match between France and Australia, at the Al Janoub Stadium in Al Wakrah, Qatar, Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2022. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)
            
              France's Kylian Mbappe celebrates with teammate Theo Hernandez after scoring his side's opening goal against Denmark during a World Cup group D soccer match at the Stadium 974 in Doha, Qatar, Saturday, Nov. 26, 2022. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)

DOHA, Qatar (AP) — Theo Hernandez wants to win the World Cup for France. And for his big brother.

Lucas Hernandez was in tears when he ruptured the ACL in his right knee early in France’s 4-1 win against Australia last week. His brother Theo replaced him at left back in a straight swap, even though they are different styles of players.

“His injury was very bad news for us. It’s not easy for him, either, because it’s also a really long injury,” said the 25-year-old Theo, who is one year younger than his brother. “I’ve been talking with him on the phone every day since he left Qatar. I want to play in every match here, because I want to bring the trophy back for him.”

The younger Hernandez, who plays for Italian champion AC Milan, is more attack-minded than his brother and sometimes seems more like a winger than a defender.

At his news conference on Sunday, a Chinese journalist told him his nickname among Chinese fans is “Supercar” because of incredible speed.

“I prefer Ferrari,” he joked, smiling.

So it’s a dream for him to play on the left side of the French attack with Adrien Rabiot in midfield and Kylian Mbappe up front.

When he set up Mbappe for France’s winning goal in the 2-1 win against Denmark on Saturday they jumped into each other’s arms.

“We combine really well together and it’s a real pleasure,” Hernandez said. “When you have Kylian in front of you then things become easy. We get on really well on the field.”

It brings a sharp focus to his play, too.

“I try not to miss with any of my passes,” he said.

Coach Didier Deschamps has turned France around in the space of two games, coping with a pile of injuries to adopt a new, more direct approach.

Despite the attacking intent, Hernandez is aware of his place in the team and his defensive duties.

“I know I can’t push up too much,” he said.

___

AP World Cup coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/world-cup and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Tottenham's Harry Kane greets supporters after the English Premier League soccer match between Fulh...
Associated Press

Harry Kane has records in sight, but trophies elude him

MANCHESTER, England (AP) — Harry Kane will become Tottenham’s all-time leading scorer with a goal against Manchester City on Sunday. The striker’s wait for a major trophy, however, will go on. Kane is set to surpass the late Jimmy Greaves’ club record of 266 goals, which has stood for 53 years. He is also tied […]
1 day ago
FILE- Gene Sykes claps after City Council voted 12-0 to endorse documents at the heart of its plan ...
Associated Press

USOPC: Russian pathway possible, but sanctions must remain

The new leader of the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee reiterated the federation’s support for exploring a way for Russian athletes to compete at the Paris Olympics as neutrals, while insisting the current sanctions against the country remain in place. Gene Sykes, who took over for Susanne Lyons as USOPC chair on Jan. 1, wrote […]
1 day ago
Dallas Stars' Jason Robertson celebrates after scoring a goal during the first period of an NHL hoc...
Associated Press

All-Star festivities showcase next generation of NHL stars

New Jersey Devils players watch from the bench often and marvel at some of the things Jack Hughes can do on the ice. “Every game, at least a couple times, I’ll be like, ‘Oh my God, that guy’s amazing,'” forward Michael McLeod said. “He just gets it done every night.” The same goes in Buffalo, […]
1 day ago
Youth team players warm-up ahead of the Black star water polo competition held at the University of...
Associated Press

Ghana water polo grows as sport looks for more diversity

Back at the very beginning, right when the idea of water polo in Ghana started swimming into reality, Asante Prince got out a couple of balls and caps in front of a handful of curious kids. He decided to try a scrimmage, but he had no nets. So they put a soccer bench on each […]
1 day ago
FILE - Austria's Katharina Liensberger speeds down the course during the first run of an alpine ski...
Associated Press

Austrian ski team aims to rediscover its magic at worlds

VIENNA (AP) — Only one skier in the 24-member Austrian squad for the upcoming world championships has won on the Word Cup circuit this season. A star coach left the women’s team mid-January. And “crisis” has become a common word on the ski-mad nation’s sport pages. Has the once dominating “Wunderteam” from Austria lost its […]
1 day ago
FILE - Workers prepare to remove giant Olympic rings from the waterfront area at Odaiba Marine Park...
Associated Press

Tokyo Olympic bribery scandal rolls on; company apologizes

TOKYO (AP) — A Japanese company embroiled in the 2020 Tokyo Olympic corruption scandal said Thursday it would strengthen oversight to prevent further wrongdoing. Kadokawa “seriously betrayed public trust,” company president Takeshi Natsuno said. He bowed deeply with two other executives to show remorse in a news conference. Tsuguhiko Kadokawa, the son of the founder, […]
1 day ago
Theo Hernandez wants to win World Cup for France and brother