France 3-1 Poland
Goals: Giroud (44′), Mbappe (74′, 90’+1), Lewandowski (90+9)
Olivier Giroud and Kylian Mbappe displayed some ruthless finishing to haul France into the quarter-finals of the World Cup despite an underwhelming performance against Poland.
Poland played the better football in the first half but could not take their chances and Giroud gave France the lead against the run of the play right before the break at Al Thumama Stadium, becoming his country’s all-time top scorer in the process on 52 goals.
Poland kept fighting in the second half but were caught out on the counterattack as they committed numbers forward in pursuit of an equaliser, Mbappe sealing the holders’ passage to the quarter-finals with a clinical finish from just outside the area.
The 23-year-old striker adorned the French victory by scoring a sensational second goal in added time but Robert Lewandowski managed to get a consolation strike for Poland from the penalty spot, converting his second attempt after spurning his first before a re-take was ordered.
Key moment: Giroud settles French nerves
France were the favourites heading into the match and had benefitted from giving many of their players a rest in their final group game. Poland, however, took them by surprise and dominated the first half, pegging Didier Deschamps‘ side into their own half while Robert Lewandowski spurned a clear chance from inside the area.
But France pulled ahead with their first chance of the game when Mbappe took advantage of Poland’s defence pushing up and slotted a pass into strike partner Giroud.
The veteran took one touch to bring the ball under control before slotting it into the bottom corner of the net and surpassing Thierry Henry as France’s highest ever goalscorer. More importantly, the goal gave Les Bleus control of the game which had threatened to slip from their grasp.
Kylian Mbappe has scored nine FIFA World Cup goals in only nine starts.
Player of the match