In a one-sided encounter, France handily defeated Poland to advance to the Quarter-Finals due to a world-class showing by Kylian Mbappe.
Going into the contest, the French were clear favourites after topping Group D with six points as they went up against Poland, who scraped through Group C with only one victory.
When it was all said and done, the defending champions proved to be too classy, as goals from Kylian Mbappe and a record-breaking Olivier Giroud kept Robert Lewandowski quiet and sent Poland packing.
To start the game, Poland attempted a low block to combat France’s early pressure, before later pressing themselves. In attack the French would try to take their opponents on from out wide whilst Giroud was used as a focal target point who linked up play. French wingers Ousmane Dembele and Kylian Mbappe were superb in isolated situations as they were often successful in their dribbles and had a high pass accuracy rate.
Despite these tactics, France would still have trouble trying to break the Polish low block, frequently taking shots from outside the box.
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After some possesional play from France, they had a huge chance to open the score in the 28th minute after Dembele cut the ball back to Giroud who somehow missed an open goal. The missed chance would almost come back to bite them as Poland had a massive chance straight after, as a series of Polish shots were saved and cleared off the line.
After 43 minutes Oliver Giroud finally broke the deadlock after getting in behind a Mbappe pass to make it 1-0 to the French. The goal is Giroud’s 52nd for the French National Team making him their all-time top goal scorer, surpassing Thierry Henry.
When the first half ended, it was still clear to see that the game was still up for grabs as Poland were not completely out of the game.
France started the second half very aggressively, as they used fast build-up play to get behind the Polish defense, who continued to sit back.
Kylian Mbappe continued to cause problems on the wing for Poland as he would find himself getting the better of Matty Cash more frequently.
This culminated in the 75th minute after Giroud pushed the ball out to the right flank during a counterattack. When in possession on the right wing, Dembele passed the ball to Mbappe on the opposite side who smashed the ball into the net to make it 2-0.
In the later stages of the game, Mbappe found himself in the box once again after a cutback from Marcus Thuram. After setting himself up, Mbappe beautifully curled the ball into the top corner to seal qualification for his country.
Poland snatched a late penalty after a handball by Dayot Upemacano which was converted by Robert Lewandowski, but it was too little too late as the game halted straight after.
The victory for France proves that they are still a force to be reckoned with after questions surrounding their form circulated before the tournament started. They have the individual quality and team chemistry to possibly become the third-ever back-to-back winners of the World Cup, joining Italy (1934-1938) and Brazil (1958-1962).
France will face the victors of the England vs Senegal match which takes place a few hours later.
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