France set up a potential World Cup quarter-final against England after a goal from Olivier Giroud and two for Kylian Mbappe sealed a 3-1 win over Poland in the teams’ last-16 clash in Qatar on Sunday.
Poland matched France for most of the first half, but the defending champions took the lead through Giroud after 44 minutes – a strike which saw the 36-year-old overtake Thierry Henry to become Les Bleus’ all-time top scorer with 52 international goals.
And Giroud played his part in the second goal as well, controlling a difficult high ball and leading France forward before peeling off and allowing space for Mbappe to fire in a super second following an Ousmane Dembele pass with 74 minutes on the clock.
It was Mbappe’s eighth World Cup goal and he is still only 23 years of age. And a ninth followed right at the end of the match to wrap up an emphatic victory in the end as he made space for himself and hit a fierce curler into the top corner from an angle for his fifth strike at Qatar 2022.
Robert Lewandowski pulled a goal back from the penalty spot deep in added time, but France kept up their record of always winning when they have played in the last 16 at the World Cup and Didier Deschamps’ side move a step closer to retaining the trophy they won at Russia 2018.
Despite their injuries and a surprise 1-0 loss to Tunisia in the group stages as Deschamps rang the changes, France remain one of the favourites to win this tournament.
Les Bleus await the winners of Sunday’s second last-16 clash between England and Senegal, which will take place next Saturday (December 10).