France continued to show they deserve to retain the World Cup title they won four years ago in Russia as they sealed their place in the quarter-final of the Qatar 2022 World Cup in a stunning fashion on Sunday.
The defending champions trounced Poland 3-1 on Sunday with goals from Kylian Mbappe and Olivier Giroud.
While some felt the Polish team could be a tricky side for Didier Deschamps, the French team made a meal out of them at the Al Thumama Stadium.
Giroud scored the opening goal in Sunday’s Round of 16 tie in the first half to break Thiery Henry’s goal-scoring record as he now has 52 international goals to his name
Meanwhile, the second half did see a brighter Blues who scored two more goals from their explosive striker, Mbappe, who registered a brace to stay aloft in the goal scorer chart with five goals.
Though it was inconsequential, Robert Lewandowski bowed out of the competition with his second goal from the spot in the last minute of the game.
France were all over Poland as soon as the Venezuelan referee, Jesus Valenzuela, blew the kick-off whistle.
Antione Griezmann got the French side a free kick within 20 seconds of play after Bartosz Bereszynski’s foul.
Having burnished the first attempt, France’s corner kick from Griezmann was headed wide by Rapheal Varane in the fourth minute.
It was still the French party in the 11th minute with Ousmanne Dembele failing to go past Bereszynski who blocked the Barcelona winger’s shot to a corner.
Two minutes later, Aurelien Tchouameni’s outside shot stretched Wojciech Szczesny who gave away the ball for France’s fourth corner.
Dembele in the 17th minute didn’t hesitate to test Szczesny for the second time with an outside shot that was saved by the Juventus goalkeeper.
The Blues were still searching for the opener in the hands of a compact Polish defence and tried again three minutes later with Griezmann’s backheel ball being pulled away by Szczesny into the hands of Gilik who scrambled it away for a Poland counter.
The counter then saw Lewandowski try a 20-yard effort that went wide towards France’s goal a minute later.
However, Mbappe was kept at bay by Matty Cash who has been trying to keep up with the pacy PSG forward.
The Blues continued to intensify at the Polish defensive area with Mbappe forcing Szczesny to his 25th save of the tournament in the 35th minute.
However, three minutes later, Poland subjected France to offensive tests but was saved by a united defence front starting from Hugo Lloris who made a point-blank save to Zelienski’s shot then Uppermecano blocked the rebound before Raphael Varane parried the danger from Kaminski away.
But while it was looking like the game would produce a first-half draw, Giroud who had less than 10 touches fired the ball into the bottom corner to become France’s all-time goalscorer with 52 goals.
France continued the party in the second half with Dembele forcing utility defender, Bereszynski, to a yellow card to give the Blues a free kick.
The free kick played by Griezmann was parried by Szczesny to deny Varane a header in the 48th minute.
Eight minutes later, Mbappe’s shot was deflected to Krychowiak for France’s seventh corner. The corner kick then saw Szczesny encountering a minor glitch after a collision with Varane.
Meanwhile, Giroud’s shot from Dembele’s assist went wide in the 66th minute.
However, with 20 minutes left to the stoppage time, Cash still kept Mbappe off bay for a chance to create an offensive attempt from the left flank.
But four minutes later, Mbappe became too big to be stopped by Polish defenders and Szczesny after Dembele’s pass found the 23-year-old who then terrifically rifled the ball into the net for France second and to become the highest goalscorer in the World Cup with four goals. This also means the PSG forwards has registered eight world cup goals to become the first player after Pele to reach such a milestone before clocking 24.
The youngster would still have to unleash more from his bowels with a brace from another terrific strike from substitute Marcus Thuram’s assist in the 91st minute.
A minute later, Lewandowski’s touchdown for Miliski was played wide before the Barcelona’s forward got a consolation from a spot-kick in the 97th minute.
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