France 3 Poland 1: England learn possible World Cup quarter-final foe after Mbappe stunners and Giroud’s record goal

KYLIAN MBAPPE stole the show from French record breakers Olivier Giroud and Hugo Lloris as the unstoppable world champions marched through to the quarter-finals.

The 23-year-old sensation went through his full repertoire of tricks as poor Poland were put through the wringer.

Olivier Giroud sent defending champions France into the quarter-finals of the World Cup

Giroud’s strike saw him become France’s all-time leading goalscorer
Kylian Mbappe made sure of progression to the last eight with a sensational finish

Mbappe doubled his tally with another sensational finish in stoppage time
And Mbappe is clearly not about to ease up any time soon after taking his place at the top of the race for the World Cup golden boot.

Two magnificent strikes in the final 15 minutes means he has now taken his tournament tally to five…and there is plenty more to come.

It was to prove a fitting finale to an utterly dominating display from the reigning champions bidding to become the first team since Brazil in 1962 to retain the trophy.

They had taken control on the stroke of half-time when Giroud became his country’s all-time leading scorer – courtesy of an assist from Mbappe.

And captain Lloris was only denied a clean sheet to celebrate equalling Lilian Thuram’s 142-cap French record by a stoppage-time penalty from Robert Lewandowski.

Yet no one was going to overshadow the PSG phenomenon who has now scored 16 goals in his last 14 games for France.

After resting all of his stars for their last group game and watching the stiffs lose to Tunisia, there was no messing about from Didier Deschamps this time.

And with his full-strength team restored to the starting line-up, it immediately became apparent that the world champions really meant business.

Polish striker Arkadisuz Milik had joked ahead of this game that his team’s defenders would need a motor scooter if they were going to keep up with Mbappe.

But it was no laughing matter for Aston Villa full-back Matt Cash as he found himself chasing shadows right from the start.

And with Ousmane Dembele just as rapid down the other flank it was all the Poles could do to catch their breath.

Coach Czeslaw Michniewicz revels in his nickname of the Polish Mourinho but even he knew that simply parking the bus wasn’t going to cut it against the finest attack out here in Qatar.

Michniewicz had spoken of the need to keep Lewandowski involved and not allow the Polish talisman to become isolated.

But that was easier said than done for a team of comparative journeymen struggling to wrestle possession from the well-oiled French midfield.

Antoine Griezmann, making his 71st consecutive international appearance, never stopped probing from his new deep-lying role.

And with Adrien Rabiot proving to be a more than adequate replacement for the absent Paul Pogba it is obvious that France have got enough quality in the middle of the pitch to back up their three musketeers in attack.

This was Poland’s first appearance in the World Cup knock-out rounds since 19986 and they had only edged their way into the last 16 courtesy of a better goal difference than Mexico.

Most of that was thanks to the efforts of keeper Wojciech Szczesny, whose penalty saves in the group games against Saudi Arabia and Argentina had proved to be decisive.

It is still hard to believe that Szczesny was effectively booted out of Arsenal by Arsene Wenger for having a crafty fag in the Southampton showers.

Because he has got to be in the running for keeper of the tournament despite his team’s failure to make it beyond the second round.

For much of the match, he was like a one-man barrier as he kept out shots from Aurelien Tchouameni, Jules Kounde, Dembele, Mbappe and Griezmann.

But even he was powerless to keep out his former Arsenal team-mate Giroud when the veteran hit-man was played in by Mbappe to bury his shot into the far corner.

Giroud thought he had struck again with a magnificent 57th-minute scissor kick only for his efforts to be ruled out for a block on Szczesny by Raphael Varane.

But if anything, it was the keeper who had committed the foul when he came flying out of his goal to punch clear and wiped out everything in his way including Varane.

Poland had already served notice of their threat on the counter when Piotr Zielinski had arrived like an express train to test Lloris’ reflexes from close range before Jakub Kaminski’s follow-up was booted off the line by Varane.

But the record-breaking Lloris almost ruined his big day when he made a complete hash of a 45th-minute corner and was very fortunate to be able to scramble back and retrieve the loose ball.

Yet that fumble was rendered utterly meaningless when Mbappe almost burst the net with an absolute ripper in the 75th minute.

He repeated the trick on the stroke of full-time with another thunderbolt from the blue which Szczesny got a hand to but could not keep out of his top corner.

Lewandowski netted with a twice-taken penalty after Dayot Upamecano had handled Kamil Grosicki’s stoppage-time cross.

And how French president Mystic Emmanuel Macron must have been wishing he’d had a few bob on that after predicting a 3-1 French victory with goals from Giroud, Mbappe…and Lewandowski.

Author: Victor

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