DOHA, December 4
Kylian Mbappe was in another league yet again, while the ever-reliable Olivier Giroud netted a record goal, to send defending champions France into the quarterfinals of the World Cup with a 3-1 victory against Poland today.
It’s not been easy because they’re a well-organised team and we had to make some positional changes at halftime. We’re a united squad and tonight the players’ impeccable behaviour has been rewarded. Now we’re going to spend a little bit of time with our families Didier Deschamps, France coach
We fought, we created a couple of chances, some really clear ones, especially in the first half; it’s a pity nothing went in Robert Lewandowski, Poland captain
Les Bleus, who will face either Senegal or England for a spot in the last-four, had to dig deep but scored on the stroke of halftime as Giroud became the outright all-time scorer for France with 52 goals before Mbappe’s 74th-minute and stoppage-time screamers sealed Poland’s fate. Poland, in the knockout stage for the first time since 1986 and looking for a first quarterfinal appearance since 1982, had a huge chance in the first half but the France midfield did a great job at cutting the feeding line to Robert Lewandowski, who reduced the arrears with a twice-taken, last-second penalty.
Keeper Hugo Lloris made his 142nd appearance and is now tied with Lilian Thuram as France’s most-capped player, and his experience mattered when he made a superb quick save to deny Piotr Zielinski.
Coach Didier Deschamps had warned that there was more to Poland than Lewandowski and he was proved right as the French were at times shaky at the back. “It’s not been easy because they’re a well-organised team and we had to make some positional changes at halftime,” said Deschamps. “We’re a united squad and tonight the players’ impeccable behaviour has been rewarded,” he added. — Reuters
9 Kylian Mbappe became the first player to score nine World Cup goals before his 24th birthday. He has scored five goals in this edition
52 Olivier Giroud scored against Poland to become France’s all-time top scorer with 52 goals. Giroud, 36, went past Thierry Henry (51)
142 Goalkeeper Hugo Lloris matched France’s national team record of 142 appearances. The 35-year-old is now tied with former right-back Lilian Thuram
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