Mbappe, Giroud propel France to World Cup quarterfinals
France beat Poland to reach the World Cup quarterfinals as the reigning champs eased to victory against a stubborn Polish side.
Olivier Giroud became France’s all-time leading goalscorer as he finished superbly just before half time to net his 52nd goal for Les Bleus.
Kylian Mbappe then finished off Poland late on with two fine finishes, as he broke Pele’s record as the top goalscorer in World Cup history (9 goals) under the age of 24.
Robert Lewandowski scored a retaken penalty kick in stoppage time to move to joint-ninth in the all-time leading goalscorers list in the history of the men’s game.
Poland put in probably their best display of the tournament as they had big chances in the first half but Didier Deschamps’ France held firm and their star forwards made the difference.
France will now play England in the World Cup last eight.
Mbappe, Giroud set records but France look far from invincible
The duo of Mbappe (16 goals in his last 14 games for France) and Giroud (3 goals this tournament) works superbly and they are totally different players and feed off each other so well. With Griezmann and Dembele also purring in attack, this is a dangerous France side. But they did show a few weaknesses in this win against Poland. In the first half they were exposed with balls being cut back from the byline and defensively they looked a little sluggish and Hugo Lloris was a little nervy. France will now face tougher tests in the latter stages of the tournament and although they have incredible quality, they look a little top-heavy.
Stars of the show
Kylian Mbappe: Scored two superb goals and grabbed an assist and his pace on the counter gave Poland problems galore. The scary thing about Mbappe is that he seems to keep on improving and can get even better.
Antoine Griezmann: Brilliant movement and crosses as he continues to find space in this free role. He’s having a bit of a resurgence after a quiet few years at Atletico Madrid.
How to watch France vs Poland live, stream link and start time
Kick off: 10am ET, Sunday (December 4)Stadium: Al Thumama Stadium, DohaTV channels en Español: TelemundoStreaming en Español: Peacock (all 64 matches)
🔥 Olivier Giroud becomes the all-time leading goalscorer for France. What a lovely finish and a great pass from Kylian Mbappe too.— Joe Prince-Wright (@JPW_NBCSports) December 4, 2022
His 52nd goal!
Crucial goal just before half time and just after Poland should have gone ahead. #FRA 1-0 #POL pic.twitter.com/ackAAFnfn9
HOW!? Poland so close to taking the lead but Hugo Lloris makes a superb save to deny Zielinski, then Raphael Varane clears the rebound from Kaminski off the line.— Joe Prince-Wright (@JPW_NBCSports) December 4, 2022
Poland, who have looked very dangerous in spells against France, should have put one of those away.#FRA 0-0 #POL
Olivier Giroud slides in at the back post but he can’t convert and the offside flag goes up. Looks like Ousmane Dembele was offside but that’s a big chance wasted for France.
Key storylines, players to watch closely
For France, the group stage was a bit of a mixed bag results-wise, but the quality of performances was undeniable. Les Bleus hammered Australia, the eventual Group D runners-up, 4-1 in the opener, followed by a 2-1 victory over Denmark in game no. 2 and a surprising 1-0 defeat to Tunisia with next to nothing to play for in the finale. After losing Karim Benzema to injury during training just two weeks ago, on top of N’Golo Kante and Paul Pogba going down long before the tournament began, Mbappe (3 goals, 1 assist) and Griezmann (1 assist) shouldered the load in the group stage. 22-year-old midfielder Aurelien Tchouameni was the only player to start all three group games, as Didier Deschamps gives the Real Madrid star a crash course in World Cup football.
Despite having Robert Lewandowski, one of the best strikers of his generation, Poland managed just two goals during the group stage — both in the same game, their only win, against Saudi Arabia. On the flip side, keeping two clean sheets (also against Mexico) proved the difference in elimination and advancement. Poland are one of four sides (Australia, Morocco and Japan being the others) to have held less than 40 percent of possession and make it through to the knockout rounds.
France quick facts
Current FIFA world ranking: 4
World Cup titles: 2 (1998, 2018)
World Cup appearances: 15
How they qualified: Qualified automatically from UEFA (Won Group D)
Coach: Didier Deschamps
Key players: Kylian Mbappe, Hugo Lloris, Antoine Griezmann
Poland quick facts
Current FIFA world ranking: 38
World Cup titles: 0
World Cup appearances: 5
How they qualified: Qualified from AFC via the intercontinental playoffs
Coach: Graham Arnold
Key players: Mathew Ryan, Aaron Mooy, Mathew Leckie