Les Bleus have booked their place in the World Cup quarter-finals, after a masterclass from Kylian Mbappe inspired them to a 3-1 victory over Poland in Doha on Sunday.
France were given a couple of early scares, but opened just before the break through Olivier Giroud – who became his country’s record goal scorer – before Mbappe took over in the second half. The 23-year-old netted two superb finishes. He looks a strong favourite to take Giroud’s goal record off him one day, and he could well grab the World Cup Golden Boot for this tournament.
Robert Lewandowski scored a late penalty for Poland as a consolation, but otherwise it was cruise control for the French, who set up a last eight clash against either England or Senegal. See how the game unfolded with Standard Sport’s live blog below, which included expert analysis from football writer Simon Collings at Al Thumama Stadium.
France vs Poland highlights
GOAL! Lewandoski penalty pulls one back
GOAL! A second Mbappe stunner
GOAL! Mbappe plunders second
GOAL! Historic strike for Giroud
France 3 - 1 Poland
17:07 , Dominic Booth
We’ll leave today’s blog with a link to our match report.
Giroud wanted the headlines and will take his record goal tally – for now – but Mbappe is an absolute superstar.
17:05 , Dominic Booth
The France star of the show is Kylian Mbappe, of course, as our football writer Simon Collings rates the players from today’s last-16 tie.
16:58 , Dominic Booth
A walk in the park for France, in the end.
They had a couple of scary moments in the first half, but after the break Mbappe came to life and he’s fired them into the quarter-finals. Giroud’s record-breaking goal set the French on course for victory earlier on. Lewandowski scored a late consolation from the penalty spot.
Mbappe on 33 goals for France. He is 23. Fancy he might get that goalscoring record off Giroud.
GOAL! France 3-1 Poland | Lewandowski ‘99
16:57 , Dominic Booth
Lewandowski has missed the penalty... but the referee pulls it back for encroachment. Or maybe Lloris was off his line? Either way, he’ll get a second chance at scoring a second World Cup goal.
And the next one goes in! 3-1
16:55 , Dominic Booth
There’s a twist in the tale here, Poland have a penalty late on!
A VAR check saw a French handball.
16:51 , Dominic Booth
93 mins: It’s Kylian Mbappe’s world and we’re all just living in it.
Kylian Mbappé has now scored 16 goals in his last 14 caps for France. Two incredible finishes today. 5 goals already in this World Cup. 9 in 11 World Cup matches overall. 33 goals in 63 caps and he is still only 23. Just incredible!
— Julien Laurens (@LaurensJulien) December 4, 2022
GOAL! France 3-0 Poland | ‘Mbappe ‘91
16:49 , Dominic Booth
Mbappe again. Unstoppable. 3-0
The turn, the curled finish into the top corner and then the celebration. He’s ensured France have won this in style. Nine World Cup goals for this man.
16:46 , Dominic Booth
88 mins: Aston Villa’s Jan Bednarek is now on for Poland, who will try and lump a free-kick into the French box here.
It’s poorly directed and easily headed clear by Rabiot. Not even Poland look like they believe they can spring a comeback.
16:43 , Dominic Booth
85 mins: The life appears to have drained from Poland, now, and from this game as a contest, in truth.
16:40 , Dominic Booth
82 mins: More nice play from Mbappe, with Hernandez trying his luck with a shot, just over.
16:36 , Dominic Booth
78 mins: That Mbappe goal started with Griezmann hacking the ball clear near his own six-yard box to set the front-three away. Proof of his new No8 role and how he’s happy to do the dirty work.
Kylian Mbappe passes Pele for most World Cup goals scored by a men's player before turning 24 years old (8) 😮👏 pic.twitter.com/uJLZDH6LWO
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) December 4, 2022
16:35 , Dominic Booth
77 mins: Marcus Thuram and Kingsley Coman are now on for Giroud and Dembele. You sense that France are now on easy street.
16:33 , Dominic Booth
75 mins: You simply cannot give Mbappe that much time.
GOAL! France 2-0 Poland | Mbappe ‘74
16:32 , Dominic Booth
That man Mbappe. It’s 2-0!
It really opened up for France there with Poland commiting bodies forward. The PSG man plunders his finish into the top corner.
16:30 , Dominic Booth
72 mins: A double sub for Poland as Bielik and Zalewski enter the fray, with Kaminski and Krychowiak sacrificed.
Glik heads over from a set piece.
16:29 , Dominic Booth
71 mins: It’s Poland’s turn to knock on the door.
Well, they’re not quite knocking. They’re standing on the front step waiting to see if the door will open by itself.
— FIFA World Cup (@FIFAWorldCup) December 4, 2022
16:27 , Dominic Booth
69 mins: Kaminski rises but cannot quite jump high enough to get his head on a good Polish cross from the left.
This has become a little attritional, in truth. But at 1-0, Poland will feel they still have a chance.
16:24 , Dominic Booth
66 mins: Giroud nearly has a second. He tries to angle Kounde’s cross inside the near post, but it’s the side netting instead.
Tchouaméni is replaced by Fofana in midfield.
16:23 , Dominic Booth
65 mins: Poland have thrown on a striker, in the shape of Juventus star Milki. It’s Szymanski who goes off.
16:21 , Dominic Booth
63 mins: It really does seem like ‘when’ rather than ‘if’ France get a second, here. They’ve wrestled back control of this contest since the resumption.
16:20 , Dominic Booth
61 mins: Dembele opts to pull it right back to Mbappe on the edge of the box. Surely a ball across the goal-face would have done the trick, there? Mbappe miscontrols. Yes, you read that right.
16:17 , Dominic Booth
59 mins: France are readying the reinforcements. Coman one of those warming up. He should have a field day if this game gets stretched as Poland push for a winner.
16:16 , Dominic Booth
58 mins: France have enjoyed corner after corner in this game, but one of Poland’s strengths is their aerial prowess.
They clear, the whistle goes and, as the ball comes back in, Giroud reacts to it and sticks the ball in the net in acrobatic fashion. It won’t count, but it was nice. The striker afford himself a wry smile.
16:15 , Dominic Booth
56 mins: Good chance for Mbappe. His shot is deflected just wide... for a moment it looked to be creeping in the other side of the post.
16:13 , Dominic Booth
55 mins: There’s a sort of half-urgency about France at the moment. Griezmann ghosts into space but his cross doesn’t find Mbappe, who recycles with a quickly-taken throw-in. Poland get their interceptions and blocks in.
16:11 , Dominic Booth
52 mins: Upemecano has been really impressive all tournament at the back for France. He makes a superbly timed challenge.
16:09 , Dominic Booth
51 mins: Hernandez and Mbappe combine deliciously down the left to run France away from trouble and into the Polish half. The pace on those two is scary. Scary hours.
16:08 , Dominic Booth
50 mins: Ousmane Dembele continues to be an exciting but frustrating footballer. Bags of pace, all the tricks, but once again his decision-making radar is off.
Griezmann is coming into the game more for France in that No.10 role.
16:06 , Dominic Booth
48 mins: Griezmann opts to shoot from a tight-angle rather than find a French head, and he forces Szczesny into a save, easily beaten away by the former Arsenal keeper.
16:05 , Dominic Booth
47 mins: Dembele is fouled just on the edge of the Poland box and Bereszynski is booked for that tackle. Did he get the ball? Harsh one.
16:03 , Dominic Booth
We’re back under way in Doha.
16:00 , Dominic Booth
If you thought Poland’s task was difficult before the game... here are the half-time odds via FairBettingSites:
First half thoughts
15:52 , Dominic Booth
Mbappe has been hugely threatening, Giroud has supplied a world class finish, but France haven’t hit top gear yet in this tie. They’ll hope for another goal and a more comfortable performance in the second half. Poland will believe they can create enough to get back into the contest.
Kylian Mbappe’s first half by numbers vs. Poland:
100% long balls completed
88% pass accuracy
4 ground duels won
3 dribbles completed
2 key passes
Assists Giroud’s historic goal. 🔥 pic.twitter.com/oddmcctxhk
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) December 4, 2022
15:48 , Dominic Booth
It’s 1-0 at the break.
Just that one moment of excellence separates the sides – a through-ball from Mbappe and a fine swivel and finish from the record-breaker, Giroud.
Poland had their chances and will feel slightly unfortunate. The French quality has just about shone through.
15:47 , Dominic Booth
46 mins: Giroud becomes France’s top goalscorer. He has had his critics over the year and isn’t the most fashionable striker, but the numbers don’t lie. He’s surpassed Thierry Henry.
GOAL! France 1-0 Poland | Giroud ‘44
15:44 , Dominic Booth
Giroud opens the scoring!
What timing from the French to find their goal just before the break – and it’s an historic one for the ex Arsenal and Chelsea man, who turned and found the bottom corner, to become his nation’s record goalscorer.
15:43 , Dominic Booth
42 mins: The officials aren’t happy with a gold chain that Jules Kounde has on. He’s been wearing it since kick off, guys, how haven’t you noticed?
It’s been taken off.
15:40 , Dominic Booth
39 mins: It was Zielinski who smashed the shot at goal, Lloris got in the way and then Varane stretched brilliantly to hack it off the line. Poland will feel unfortunate to still be level.
15:39 , Dominic Booth
38 mins: Big save from Lloris and a goal-line clearance – it could be 1-0 to Poland! The Spurs keeper gave it away a minute or so before the chance, which was eventually worked excellent from the left.
15:37 , Dominic Booth
37 mins: Szczesny gets a boot in the face for his troubles from Upamecano there, after Giroud’s acrobatic effort to turn it goalwards. It’s not quite happening for France, as yet.
15:36 , Dominic Booth
36 mins: A lovely jinking run from Mbappe, he chops one way and then the other, but fires into the side netting. Cash was all at sea.
15:35 , Dominic Booth
34 mins: Bereszynski is joining Cash in getting forward from full-back and all it’s lacking from Poland right now is the final ball into Lewandowski.
Cash drills one miles wide.
15:34 , Dominic Booth
32 mins: Chants of ‘Allez Les Bleus’ go around the stadium, but it’s France who give away a free-kick in a dangerous spot.
Tchouaméni booked for an over-zealous tackle. Lewandowski’s free-kick, though, is poor and into the wall.
15:32 , Dominic Booth
29 mins: That’s a bad miss from Giroud, but i also think Dembele has done him no favours there. He absolutely hammered that ball across to him!
15:29 , Dominic Booth
28 mins: Poland boss CzesÅaw Michniewicz is shouting some furious instructions at his players, as they sit in their shape and keep France at bay. He can’t be too unhappy with what he’s seen, surely?
15:27 , Dominic Booth
26 mins: Kylian is killing it. Poland might be enjoying some pressure, but they can’t leave the back door open too wide.
First time seeing Mbappe in the flesh at this World Cup and his pace is just ridiculous. Giving players three yards head-start at times and leaving them for dust.
— Simon Collings (@sr_collings) December 4, 2022
15:25 , Dominic Booth
24 mins: Poland are coming back into this a little. Good spell for them, without a clearcut chance, though.
15:22 , Dominic Booth
21 mins: Tchouameni is an absolutely lovely player to watch. Good on the ball, but happy to stick his boot in too. Sounds bold, but kind of feels like he is feeling the void of Kante AND Pogba.
Lewandowski gets a sight of goal at the other end, blasting wide from 25 yards.
15:21 , Dominic Booth
20 mins: Fair play to Matty Cash. The Aston Villa right-back is doing a decent job on Mbappe so far, trying to nullify (or at least limit) the Frenchman’s obvious threat.
Poland are doubling or sometimes tripling up on the PSG man.
15:18 , Dominic Booth
17 mins: Dembele again cuts inside onto his left-foot but his shot doesn’t trouble Szczesny anywhere near enough. Simply saved.
15:17 , Dominic Booth
16 mins: Someone bring out a deckchair for Hugo Lloris. He’s a spectator at the moment.
15:15 , Dominic Booth
15 mins: Kaminski is looking good for Poland and trying to battle his way through midfield, but having defended for so long, it’s hard for his teammates to rush out and support him.
Lewandowski hasn’t touched the ball very much so far.
15:14 , Dominic Booth
13 mins: A strong shot from Tchouaméni is parried by Szczesny and hacked out for another corner.
France are knocking on the door; this corner kick is worked short to Mbappe but he runs into traffic.
15:12 , Dominic Booth
12 mins: Dembele is the latest France player to get a brief sight of goal. He cuts in from the right and gets shut out by a despairing block from Bereszynski.
It’s all blue pressure.
France going wide
15:11 , Dominic Booth
10 mins: This time the corner from Griezmann is cleared.
It’s noticeable so far just how much France’s wide players are hugging the touchline. They’re aware Poland want to sit deep and be compact, so they’re trying to stretch the game.
15:10 , Dominic Booth
9 mins: It doesn’t need repeating, but Mbappe is an absolute livewire isn’t he? The crowd come alive when he gets the ball, Poland conceding another corner.
15:08 , Dominic Booth
8 mins: You can tell we’re in a World Cup knockout game from the intensity being displayed on the pitch.
Not so much from the crowd, though, who are rather quiet at the moment.
15:07 , Dominic Booth
6 mins: For those who had the misfortune of watching Poland in the group stages, it’s refreshing to see them try and be a bit more aggressive already in this game. A high press and some adventure from Cash on the overlap down the right.
15:05 , Dominic Booth
4 mins: Varane rises highest to meet the corner, but he cannot direct his header on target!
Good delivery from Griezmann but over the bar.
15:04 , Dominic Booth
3 mins: Some lovely stuff from Dembele to lure in a few Polish defenders and switch the ball across to Mbappe on the left/ France working it from side to side, winning a corner.
15:03 , Dominic Booth
2 mins: Poland don’t want to be doing too much of this... Bereszynski fouling Griezmann inside the first minute. The French forward takes the free-kick himself but he’s overhit that and it’s out for a goal-kick.
15:00 , Dominic Booth
We’re off and running.
14:53 , Dominic Booth
There is currently a lot of empty seats here. A few media are saying there is a lot of bad traffic outside, which you hope is the case.
We’ve got the light-show happening right now, ahead of the anthems and usual preamble.
14:43 , Dominic Booth
There’s a big group of French fans behind one of the goals. Not quite on Argentina levels, but they’ve got good backing here. A few Polish fans mingling about and Lewandowski gets a huge cheers as his name is read out.
French legend backs 3-1 win
14:36 , Dominic Booth
French World Cup winner Emmanuel Petit has made his prediction for tonight’s game, believing his country will boss the game and easily book a spot in the quarter-finals. This is what he told Midnite:
“I fancy France to dominate. I think they have far too much for Poland, who looked awful against Argentina.
“I think it will be a 3-1 victory for France and Kylian Mbappe will score twice.
“Then I think England will beat Senegal and we will have a mouth-watering quarter-final to look forward to between France and England.”
14:27 , Dominic Booth
Here they are.
14:20 , Dominic Booth
Just a reminder of the lineups with kick off 40 minutes away now. The players have emerged for the warm-ups.
— FIFA World Cup (@FIFAWorldCup) December 4, 2022
14:12 , Dominic Booth
There’s a good atmosphere at the Al Thumama Stadium in Doha today and let’s hope for some entertainment on the pitch, too.
And no empty seats, hopefully.
14:02 , Dominic Booth
Olivier Giroud has been asked about the possibility of breaking the French all-time scoring record against Poland today, and how he’s managed to achieve so much for his country.
And it will be no surprise to Arsenal and Chelsea fans that he spoke in very relaxed fashion about this last-16 tie and his ability to shut out criticism.
He said: “It’s about concentrating on the positives and to not pay too much attention to the negatives. I have always had to face difficulties in life like most people do. It’s nice to be able to go about your work with a smile.”
Team news thoughts
13:48 , Dominic Booth
There are very few surprises in either lineup, in truth, but the headline for France has to be the fact that Olivier Giroud – 36 years old and one goal from becoming his country’s record scorer – is leading the line.
He’s supported by the all-star cast that is Kylian Mbappe, Antoine Griezmann and Ousmane Dembele, as Deschamps does indeed ditch many of those who came into the side against Tunisia.
For Poland, it’s all about one experienced striker as well.. a certain Mr Robert Lewandowski.
13:41 , Dominic Booth
France XI: Lloris, Koundé, Varane, Upamecano, Theo Hernández, Griezmann, Tchouaméni, Rabiot, Dembélé, Giroud, Mbappé.
13:40 , Dominic Booth
Poland XI: Szczesny, BereszyÅski, Kiwior, Glik, Cash, Frankowski, S.Szymanski, Krychowiak, Zielinski, Kaminski, Lewandowski
13:38 , Dominic Booth
It’s not a surprise that Hugo Lloris will start today’s game, of course, but’s a hugely significant achievement for the Tottenham goalkeeper as he racks up yet another international cap.
Hugo Lloris starts today against Poland and becomes the most capped player in France football history with 142 caps, level with Lilian Thuram. What an incredible achievement!
— Julien Laurens (@LaurensJulien) December 4, 2022
13:29 , Dominic Booth
Simon Collings in Doha:
I’m not sure if they do this at every game at the Al Thumama stadium, but they are serving croissants here today. It’s just gone 4pm. Perhaps to please the French media?
13:19 , Dominic Booth
The bookies have France as big favourites this one. Here are the match odds for the 90 minutes, according to Betfair:
France win - 1/3
Draw - 4/1
Poland win - 19/2
Standard Sport prediction
13:04 , Dominic Booth
France have vulnerabilities, for sure, and their defeat to Tunisia in the group stage may have caused a jitter or two within the French fanbase ahead of the knockout stages. But when it comes to Standard Sport’s prediction, there’s only one outcome we can really put out there...
Poland were fairly uninspiring in the groups and France can go to another dimension if Mbappe turns on the style. Les Bleus should win by two or three.
Al Thumama Stadium for France v Poland. Winners will face England or Senegal in the quarter-finals. pic.twitter.com/sQLnMgB4fI
— Simon Collings (@sr_collings) December 4, 2022
Predicted Poland lineup
12:59 , Dominic Booth
It’s around an hour until the official teamsheets are released, but just to mention on the Poland front that they are injury-free and expected to field their strongest possible XI for this one.
Robert Lewandowski will lead the line and he’ll need service from the likes of Piotr ZieliÅski and Karol Åwiderski.
Predicted France lineup
12:44 , Dominic Booth
It was all change from Didier Deschamps for France’s final group game against Tunisia.
And after that 1-0 defeat, and given the magnitude of today’s last-16 tie, he’s almost certain to bring his big guns back and revert to his strongest XI against Poland. Kylian Mbappe and Antoine Griezmann both came off the bench against Tunisia, and they’re so integral for Les Bleus that they – along with Hugo Lloris, Ousmane Dembele and Adrien Rabiot – should all start today.
Can the French lay down a marker and book their spot in the last eight?
How to watch
12:40 , Dominic Booth
A reminder that the BBC will be screening today’s game, on BBC One and BBC iPlayer.
But stick with us at Standard Sport as we provide comprehensive pre-mach build-up, live updates and analysis of this huge World Cup last-16 clash.
12:32 , Alex Young
Hello and welcome to the Evening Standard’s LIVE coverage of the World Cup last-16 clash between France and Poland.
Kick-off at the Al Thumama Stadium is at 3pm GMT. Who will be joining Argentina and the Netherlands in the quarter-finals?
Stick with us.