PLAYER RATINGS | France 3-1 Poland: Kylian Mbappé leads Les Bleus into quarters

Kylian Mbappé and Olivier Giroud were once again the stars as France saw off a despondent Poland in style to continue their World Cup title defence into the quarter-finals, in a match that Didier Deschamps’ men had under control from start to finish.

The first half saw a flurry of France chances to start with, as the first-choice lineup returned to the fray and picked up where they left off from the win over Denmark. As Poland began to grow into the match – going forward adventurously, at times – it was Olivier Giroud who emerged with the opener just before half-time. With his 52nd goal in a France shirt, the forward became Les Bleus’ all-time top scorer, overtaking Thierry Henry on the biggest of stages. 

The blue dominance continued well into the second half, with notably a Giroud overhead kick being disallowed for an apparent foul from Varane. Poland then recovered from the attacking bombardment, enough to start sowing doubt among the French contingent – before Kylian Mbappé struck a devastating second to wrap up proceedings. The Paris Saint-Germain forward then added a third, his fifth of the tournament, in stoppage time to round off a sensational performance.

How the French fared

Hugo Lloris, 5 – A few scares but a clean sheet nonetheless, his second at the tournament. Not a bad way to celebrate becoming France’s joint all-time top appearance maker. Saved Robert Lewandowski late penalty initially but the striker converted after a retake.

Jules Koundé, 6 – The (initially) chain-bearing Barcelona man was once again solid in his unfamiliar right-back position, showing why he is now picked over Benjamin Pavard.

Raphaël Varane, 6

Dayot Upamecano, 7 – France’s best defender, kept Robert Lewandowski of all people quiet and once again imperious at this World Cup. A completely transformed player from his France appearances earlier this year.

Théo Hernandez, 6 – His attacking abilities weren’t as evident as they usually are, but a solid defensive performance nonetheless from the Milan man. 

Antoine Griezmann, 7 – Continues to grow into his selfless all-action midfield role, one which he is able to use all of his defensive nous and leadership abilities.

Aurélien Tchouaméni, 7 – Another assured performance from France’s midfield leader, who has more than stepped up into the role in the absences of Paul Pogba and N’Golo Kanté. Replaced by Youssouf Fofana.

Adrien Rabiot, 6

Ousmane Dembélé, 6 – A solid performance that once again saw him create dangerous situations down the right, albeit not as devastating as his attacking partners. Led the counter and notched the assist for Mbappé’s first.

Olivier Giroud, 7 – France’s all-time top scorer. The central point of the attack whose hard work has seen him get his just rewards. Could have had a second from a fantastic overhead kick if not for a confusing refereeing decision regarding Varane’s collision with the goalkeeper. Replaced by Marcus Thuram, who made some good runs down the left.

Kylian Mbappé, 9 – Mesmerisingly good, the best player in the world. When Poland looked to be getting back into it, the PSG man dashed those dreams in one fell swoop. Added another in style in stoppage time. Constantly getting past Cash on the left-hand side and combining well with his teammates throughout. Will be the main man if France are to retain their title.

GFFN | Raphaël Jucobin

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