Olivier Giroud’s milestone strike and a double from Kylian Mbappe were enough for world champions France to advance past Poland in Qatar.
Olivier Giroud scored his 52nd goal for France to become his country’s all-time top scorer and Kylian Mbappe added two more as they beat Poland 3-1 in the World Cup round of 16 on Sunday.
Giroud’s 44th-minute strike at the Al Thumama Stadium put him ahead of former Arsenal and Les Bleus striker Thierry Henry for France.
Mbappe doubled the advantage for Didier Deschamps’ men and added another before the end of the game to move two goals clear as the tournament’s top scorer in Qatar.
Poland had earlier battled the reigning world champions and grabbed a last-gasp consolation after Robert Lewandoski converted a penalty kick.
There were few clear-cut chances in a brilliant start from France, although Giroud should have had his goal earlier but he failed to turn Ousmane Dembele’s low cross from the right into the net.
Poland had their own chances in the first half and they were somehow thwarted in the 38th minute when Bartosz Bereszynski’s cross from the left found Piotr Zielinski who hit his shot straight at Hugo Lloris before his follow-up pass was also blocked and then. Jakub Kaminski saw his effort blocked by Raphael Varane.
Giroud had a moment before the break when a neat pass around the box led to Mbappe playing a quick pass to the striker who finished well past former Arsenal team-mate Wojciech Szczesny.
The 36-year-old player had the ball in the net again just before the hour mark with a spectacular throw, but a foul was already whistled on Szczesné.
Mbappe struck with 16 minutes remaining to finally seal the win, again fine work from Giroud saw Dembele find Mbappe on the left of the box before the Paris Saint-Germain star curled the ball high past Szczesny at the near post.
The Golden Boot leader stopped play beyond doubt, again receiving the ball on the left of the penalty area before expertly placing it into the top right corner of the net.
Poland were awarded a last-minute penalty following a VAR review for a handball against Dayot Upamecano, and despite seeing his first effort saved by Hugo Lloris, Lewandowski sent the keeper the wrong way with his second after Lloris was deemed to have been off his line. first.
France player ratings (4-2-3-1)
GH: Hugo Lloris – 4/10 – A vital stop from Zielinski was overshadowed by some increasingly sketchy handling and kicking. Almost got a penalty save but was off his line and beaten by the retake.
RB: Jules Kounde – 6/10 – Somehow made it onto the field with a golden chain around his neck. Kept things tight on his side without offering too much in attack.
CB: Raphael Varane – 7/10 – Vital clearance off the line prevented Poland from taking the lead. Rarely gave the ball away.
CB: Dayot Upamecano – 7/10 – On hand to scramble away a couple of dangerous Poland opportunities.
LB: Theo Hernandez – 7/10 – Blocked a shot in the heat of Poland’s goal-mouth opportunities. A few shots in attack.
CM: Aurelien Tchouameni – 7/10 – Harshly booked in the first half. Early strike from distance was on target but not threatening. A couple of inventive passes forward.
CM: Adrien Rabiot – 6/10 – Didn’t join attacks as much as he would have liked but was workmanlike in midfield.
AM: Antoine Griezmann – 7/10 – Lost the ball a little frequently but was never too far away whenever any scraps for possession.
RW: Ousmane Dembele – 7/10 – Shot straight at Szczesny when well placed. Made the difference with a precise ball for Mbappe to score the second.
LW: Kylian Mbappe – 9/10 – Played in Giroud who finished clinically. Got more and more opportunities to stretch his legs as Poland chased an equaliser. Everything fell into place when he grabbed France’s second on the counter with a brilliant finish into the top corner. Was just taking the mickey with his brilliant second.
ST: Olivier Giroud – 7/10 – Kept his cool to slot in the opener and cement his place as France’s record men’s goalscorer. Involved in the second goal.
SUB: Youssouf Fofana (66′ for Tchouameni) – 6/10
SUB: Marcus Thuram (76′ for Giroud) – 7/10
SUB: Kingsley Coman (76′ for Dembele) – 6/10
SUB: Axel Disasi (90′ for Kounde) – N/A
Didier Deschamps – 7/10 – Went back to his favoured XI after the loss to Tunisia and got a functional display out of it. May be worried at how much France’s attacking displays depend on Mbappe, but it’s another World Cup quarter final.
Poland player ratings (4-1-4-1)
GK: Wojciech Szczesny – 7/10 – Was required frequently in the first half to prevent France from surging into the lead.
RB: Matty Cash – 5/10 – Given the unenviable task of playing opposite Mbappe. Made two expert recoveries challenges on the PSG forward but was a tough outing for the most part.
CB: Kamil Glik – 7/10 – Made a couple of vital last-ditch interventions to stop France getting in on goal.
CB: Jakub Kiwior – 5/10 – Was beaten by Giroud who got his shot away to score.
LB: Bartosz Bereszynski – 6/10 – Unlucky to get a booking when he seemed to win the ball off Dembele.
DM: Grzegorz Krychowiak – 5/10 – Looked quite sluggish in the face of some quicker and sharper midfielders. Few sloppy giveaways in possession.
RM: Jakub Kaminski – 5/10 – Had one or two threatening moments in attack but had to do a lot of backtracking in defence.
CM: Piotr Zielinski – 6/10 – Had two glaring opportunities within seconds but was denied by Lloris and Varane.
CM: Sebastian Szymanski – 6/10 – Lung-busting run back saw him deny Mbappe a shot on goal at the last second.
LM: Przemyslaw Frankowski – 6/10 – Got clear down the left to set up Zielinski’s two chances. Final ball just evaded him.
ST: Robert Lewandowski – 6/10 – Scuppered a few excellent chances when Poland got brief opportunities in transition. A late consolation from the spot earned Poland something.
SUB: Arkadiusz Milik (64′ for Szymanski) – 5/10
SUB: Nicola Zalewski (71′ for Kaminski) – 5/10
SUB: Krystian Bielik (71′ for Krychowiak) – 5/10
SUB: Jan Bednarek (87′ for Kiwior) – N/A
SUB: Kamil Grosicki (87′ for Frankowski) – N/A
Czeslaw Michniewicz – 5/10 – Poland opened up slightly more than their group stage matches. However, their main aim was only to hang on in there and pray for a Lewandowski chance.