Following Olivier Giroud’s 13-year record-breaking performance, Kylian Mbappé demonstrated why he will smash it in a fraction of the time. France completed the task in full control and with the knowledge that their attack is on point. It was a good night’s work for them. After a sluggish start, they easily defeated Poland, showing signs of confidence for a team that had been knocked off balance by injury. The majority of that was credited to Mbappé, whose second-half effort was among the top individual performances of this tournament, but they also used a number of their most effective tools to advance to the last eight.
Giroud delivered the initial blow, and if it weren’t for Mbappé, his accomplishment would be the focus of all evaluations. In actuality, it merits it. When Thierry Henry scored his 51st and final goal for France in October 2009, he established a record that few would have predicted would be broken by 36-year-old Giroud, whose contributions have frequently been criticized. However, Mbappé responded to a good through the pass with a sliced, ruthlessly clinical strike across Wojciech Szczesny that was a signature of his exceptional career and had added significance because his team was struggling at the moment.
Before Mbappé is given complete control of the stage, another classic deserves praise. Hugo Lloris, who this weekend tied Lilian Thuram’s record of 142 appearances for the France men’s squad, will very definitely set his record the next weekend. He celebrated his success by stopping Piotr Zielinski’s shot when it was still goalless and the Poland midfielder appeared certain to score. The groundwork had been prepared for victory and possibly a run to reclaim the World Cup when Mbappé and Giroud teamed lethally moments later.
Mbappé had stumbled in the first half, twirling the game but overworking Matty Cash several times without receiving help from teammates. Even though his two late goals served as a reminder of the explosive individual talent that, when other radars are off, is lavish enough to blow anyone away, his assist for Giroud suggested that France does not lose balance due to Karim Benzema’s absence.
He demonstrated that he is still only a human when he sliced out of play while unbalanced after collecting a pass from the more significant Ousmane Dembélé. The same was true when his opponent had the guts to recover well after attempting to outpace Cash following an ambitious spin despite having a 20-yard head start. After the break, Mbappé was nearly faultless, scoring his fourth and fifth goals of the season to finish a performance that gave the impression that he was holding Poland at bay by himself.
When Dembélé slid inside after being fed by Giroud, the game was beginning to lag 16 minutes from the end. The obvious pass to Mbappé was in motion, and the result already appeared certain. He maneuvered into the penalty area, and when it was his turn to shoot, there was an audible gasp of anticipation. He then unleashed a rocket that Szczesny had no chance of stopping. Little backlift throughout the execution made it almost appear careless.
From then, it was a straight shot to France, although Mbappé rarely makes a move without repercussions. He came up with something even better as the clock approached 90, taking an inside pass from Marcus Thuram, the replacement, and deftly letting it run across him. He was shooting at an angle of 45 degrees from the goal while wrapping his foot around a ball that was just behind him, which did not seem like a comfortable shooting position. All of the stuff was irrelevant. a direct blow that left a permanent mark in Szczesny’s upper left corner; Giroud would be best advised to enjoy being at the top of the heap while he can because Mbappé has scored 33 goals for his country in the past five years.
Following their celebration, Robert Lewandowski expressed sadness because he was undoubtedly the last person to appear on this stage. He successfully converted a penalty at the very last second after Lloris missed his first effort because he strayed outside the goal line. A faint smile was sufficient:
Although Lewandowski broke his World Cup duck against Saudi Arabia in the group stage, the World Cup has never had a center forward as good as the finest of his generation.
If Lloris hadn’t interfered in the 38th minute when Zielinski had a free shot from 12 yards out and blocked it with his legs, perhaps he would have given it another try. After Zielinski’s follow-up was obstructed by Lucas Hernandez and Jakub Kaminski’s third shot was blocked by Raphael Varane, the ball was cleared off the line. It was a wonderful reprieve for France since they had been asked questions by opponents who had shown more ambition than they had anticipated, but after that, they were rarely bothered.
They should instead highlight the resilience and intelligence of their forwards, who have already achieved what Lewandowski has not. The manager of Poland bemoaned, “There is no way to stop Mbappé in the form he is in. He was probably right, but Gareth Southgate still has five days to find one.
France began Sunday’s World Cup matches in Doha, Qatar, with a straightforward 3-1 victory over Poland in the round of 16. The defending world champion France was one of the most impressive teams in the group round of the competition. Currently, Les Bleus are awaiting the outcome of Sunday’s match between England and Senegal to find out who their opponent will be for the quarterfinal game on Saturday. For highlights from the game, keep reading.
Despite having numerous key players injured, France still has a chance to win the World Cup despite Brazil’s 1958 and 1962 victories. The forward Kylian Mbappé has demonstrated during this competition that he is still one of the top players in the world.
Robert Lewandowski served as the team’s captain as Poland advanced to the knockout phase for the first time since 1986. Lewandowski, who is regarded as one of the best strikers of all time, scored his first World Cup goal of the tournament and added a mostly ceremonial second goal on a penalty kick in the dying moments of this game.
Kylian Mbappé scored twice and Olivier Giroud added another as France defeated Poland 3-1 to advance to the World Cup semifinals, where it will face either England or Senegal.
Wojciech Szczesny, who came into the day with a World Cup-leading 18 saves, was beaten by Giroud’s left-footed strike from a Mbappé pass in the 44th minute to give Les Bleus the lead. Giroud scored the goal to surpass Thierry Henry as the all-time leading scorer for France.