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Mbappe fires France into World Cup last 8

Xinhua
05 Dec 2022, 04:55 GMT+10

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Kylian Mbappe scored twice and assisted Olivier Giroud to become France's all-time leading scorer in a 3-1 win over Poland in World Cup Round of 16.

DOHA, Dec. 4 (Xinhua) -- Kylian Mbappe scored two goals and set up another as defending champions France advanced to the World Cup quarterfinals with a 3-1 win over Poland here on Sunday.

Olivier Giroud surpassed Thierry Henry as France's all-time leading scorer when he put the Les Bleus ahead with a low finish just before halftime.

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Mbappe struck twice in the last 25 minutes before Robert Lewandowski converted a penalty in the last minute of stoppage time following a Dayot Upamecano handball.

The result means France will meet the winner of the round-of-16 match between England and Senegal in the quarterfinals on Saturday (Dec. 10) while Poland are eliminated.

Mbappe's sharpness was evident early as Aston Villa's Matty Cash afforded him time and space on the left wing. The Paris Saint-Germain forward sent two dangerous crosses into the box in as many minutes as Poland's defense struggled to settle.

France had their first genuine scoring opportunity when Aurelien Tchouameni found space in a central area and thumped a 25-yard drive that forced a smart save from Wojciech Szczesny.

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Les Bleus were a constant menace to Poland's defense and Szczesny made another sharp save after Mbappe's slalom run and powerful shot from 16 yards.

Poland were not without their chances as they grew more confident as the game progressed. Robert Lewandowski created an opening out of nowhere when he won an aerial duel before sending his left-footed shot from distance just wide.

France continued to move forward with impetus but were betrayed by wasteful finishing. Giroud missed an open goal when sliding a shot wide after meeting Ousmane Dembele's cross at the far post.

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Mbappe had Poland's defense rattled and he forced another corner when his shot was deflected out after a mazy run into the box.

Poland almost struck against the run of play but missed three chances in the space of 10 seconds. Piotr Zielinski first had an effort saved by Hugo Lloris and his follow-up attempt was then blocked by Upamecano.

Jakub Kaminski completed the pinball-like sequence by lashing a shot that rebounded out of danger off Raphael Varane's leg.

Giroud finally made the breakthrough in the 44th minute, turning and slotting a low finish into the bottom right corner after Mbappe's silken through ball. The goal saw Giroud surpass Thierry Henry as France's most prolific scorer with 52 goals in 116 matches.

France's attacking threat heightened early in the second half. Szczesny punched away Griezmann's fizzing attempt before Giroud and Mbappe sent shots narrowly askew.

Les Bleus doubled their lead in the 74th minute when Giroud released Dembele into acres of space on the counterattack. The former Borussia Dortmund player then found Mbappe, who took a touch before rifling an unstoppable shot past Szczesny.

France's pressure was unrelenting and they scored again in the first minute of injury time through Mbappe, who blasted a shot into the top corner after running onto Marcus Thuram's pass.

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Poland were awarded a penalty in the 98th minute after Upamecano handled Kamil Grosicki's cross inside the area.

Lewandowski saw his first attempt saved by Lloris but he was given another chance after the Tottenham goalkeeper was ruled to have advanced off his line.

The Barcelona striker made no mistake with his second chance, sending Lloris the wrong way to roll in his second goal of the tournament.

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