Giroud and Mbappe's double polish off the Poles
In a match that also featured a brace from Kylian Mbappé, Olivier Giroud passed Thierry Henry to become France's all-time record scorer as Les Bleus defeated Poland 3-1 to go to the FIFA World Cup (FWC) quarterfinals.
The reigning world champions' ability to remain undefeated during this tournament may have been compromised by nine changes in their final group encounter, but Didier Deschamps was still able to restore a wealth of skill to their starting XI with the hopes of charging head-on into their opponents. To be fair, the Eagles started the game strong. Piotr Zielinski was denied what appeared to be the game's first goal by Hugo Lloris from close range, and Raphael Varane stopped the follow-up on the line.
Before the referee blew the halftime whistle, Giroud scored a goal that broke the record for most goals scored by a French national team player (52 in 116 appearances), giving Les Bleus the lead. The game earlier appeared to be on the verge of breaking down. The attack partner had all the time in the world to take a touch in the box and calmly fire past his old Arsenal teammate Wojciech Szczęsny Szczsnyinto the bottom right corner thanks to a clever set-up by Mbappé to fool the Polish defensive line.
This was bad news for the Polish, who needed to break their recent string of five FWC games in which neither team scored if they wanted to go past the Round of 16. This was their first knockout stage appearance since 1986. The second half saw Czesław Michniewicz's side throw everything at France, but it would ultimately be to no avail as Mbappé sealed Les Bleus' passage into the next round by slamming into the top left corner of the counter while Szczęsny was left defenseless.
Robert Lewandowski scored from the penalty spot to give the current champions a chance to advance to their fourth FWC quarterfinal in their last five appearances. Mbappé added a third for good measure in the 90th minute, burying a powerful effort into the top right corner from a position similar to his first goal. A France team with two strong forwards will probably be fired up, and they are now eagerly awaiting the outcome of England vs. Senegal later today to learn who they will face in the next round.