The defending champions moved one step closer to following in the footsteps of Italy and Brazil by winning back-to-back World Cups with a dominant 3-1 victory against Poland on Sunday.
It was all France at the Al Thumama Stadium, with Poland’s Robert Lewandowski struggling to keep up with Didier Deschamp’s side, who dominated at both ends of the field.
France sent a warning message to the rest of the group with record-breaking performances from old guard Olivier Giroud and young gun Kylian Mbappe in Qatar. Not to mention Ousmane Dembele, who had a superb performance and was key to their attacking attempts throughout the 90 minutes.
Lewandowski’s late penalty gave satisfaction for the Barcelona striker and Poland, who were outplayed by France. Before halftime, Olivier Giroud gave them a 1-0 advantage, which Kylian Mbappe quadrupled in the second half with two spectacular strikes.
After some stoppage time drama, Robert Lewandowski, who had earlier in the game scored his first World Cup goal, netted a consolation penalty, but it was all France on the big night.
With his first-half goal, Giroud surpassed Thierry Henry’s 51 goals to become France’s all-time leading scorer. Despite France’s World Cup victory, Giroud did not score a single goal in Russia, but the 37-year-old has already scored three times in Qatar, taking his World Cup total to four.
Mbappe, on the other hand, boosted his tally to 9, surpassing his previous best of four goals in Russia. The PSG teenager has shattered the 58-year-old record held by legendary Brazilian scorer Pele by becoming the youngest player to score nine goals.
France will meet the winner of the fourth Round of 16 match between England and Senegal in the quarterfinals.