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France-Poland: the 3 lessons to be learned from the round of 16 of the Blues



As in 2014 and as, four years ago, in Russia, the Blues of Didier Deschamps are in the quarter-finals of the World Cup. Sometimes mistreated in the first period, the France team finally disposed of Poland three goals to one, on the achievements of Olivier Giroud and Kylian Mbappé. The Poles reduced the score in the last seconds of play, on a generous penalty converted by Robert Lewandowski. The Blues will face England in the quarter-finals, victorious over Senegal.

Football and intellectuals: we redo the match

Giroud, in record mode

He only needed one small achievement to beat legend Thierry Henry. It’s done. Already a double scorer against Australia at the opening of the World Cup, the former resident of Montpellier scored his 52nd goal with the Blues, becoming the most prolific scorer in the history of French football. A few minutes later, he scored a second goal thanks to an acrobatic return … refused for a questionable foul on the Polish goalkeeper. He was replaced by Marcus Thuram in the 75th minute, just after taking part in the counter-attack which led to the second French goal, scored by Kylian Mbappé with a shot from the right.

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Mbappé, the man of the World Cup

To the left to the right ? Under the bar, on the floor? Wojciech Szczęsny, the Polish goalkeeper, could not cope with the French striker, who took his time to adjust the right corner and score the second French goal in the 76th minute. Already, his 4th goal in the competition. Before the 5th, in the 91st minute, a new mine – this time in the left corner. Nine goals in the World Cup at not yet 24, the Frenchman’s statistics now exceed those of… King Pelé. Nine goals, or, also, the total number of goals scored in the World Cup by… Lionel Messi (35 years old) and Cristiano Ronaldo at 37 years old scored eight… in five World Cups. An XXL performance from the native of Bondy to which must be added the clinical decisive pass addressed to Olivier Giroud in the 44th minute. Unsustainable, phenomenal and living up to expectations, however immense.

Cracks in defense, solid Lloris

Faced with a not exactly exciting Poland, the French have nevertheless – it is becoming a habit – managed to afford a few cold sweats. On the right lane, Jules Koundé, preferred Benjamin Pavard, was not always flawless, being overwhelmed several times. It will take a reflex save from Hugo Lloris, then a rescue in extremis on the same action from Raphaël Varane, to avoid the Polish goal in the 38th minute. The French goalkeeper, who offered his 142nd selection this Sunday, equaling Lilian Thuram’s record, stopped a penalty in stoppage time – which the referee finally had removed… Before that, the Tottenham goalkeeper had shown hesitant on foot, also releasing an easy ball on an aerial outing.

On the satisfaction side, Dayot Upémacano again displayed his solidity, as did Théo Hénandez, very precious for his offensive contribution and his complementarity with Mbappé on the left side.

See you next Saturday, 8 p.m., against England.



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