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France vs. Poland: Mbappé Scores Twice to Send Poland on Its Way

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DOHA, Qatar — After he scored one more goal and carried France to one more World Cup victory, Kylian Mbappé raced over to the sideline and held out one finger toward a television camera. As he made a sly grin, he held out one other finger after which saluted with each — one for every goal he scored in France’s 3-1 victory over Poland in its round of 16 game on Sunday at Al Thumama Stadium.

It was a moment of brilliance, fun and brashness that exemplified a lot concerning the 23-year-old French superstar who had said he desired to change into a national icon, lead his country to a different World Cup title and supplant Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo as world player of the yr.

“That is the competition of my dreams, and I’m delighted to be here,” Mbappé said on Sunday. “I’ve been preparing for this tournament all through the season physically and mentally. I desired to be ready, and things have been going well. We’re a good distance away from the last word objective.”

Within the nearly 100 years of the World Cup, only two countries have won titles back to back. Italy did it in 1934 and 1938, before the tournament was a very global affair. And Brazil, powered by a young Pelé, achieved the feat in 1958 and 1962.

France wasn’t particularly sharp to start out on Sunday, but a goal by Olivier Giroud and two from Mbappé showed off the talent and depth that dispatched a plucky Polish team, clinched a spot within the quarterfinals and suggested France may not stop there.

France will face England in its next game. The road will only get tougher from here: Spain or Portugal are the likely opponents after that, while Argentina, the Netherlands, Brazil and the 2018 runner-up Croatia lurk on the opposite side of the bracket.

“He didn’t have his best match,” the French coach Didier Deschamps said of Mbappé through an interpreter. “I don’t wish to accuse him or anything, and he knows that, but he can change a match in a moment. He’s at all times fiddling with such joy, and we wish to share that with him. France needed a fantastic Kylian Mbappé tonight they usually got one.”

The victory brought milestones for 2 of France’s best players. Together with his goal within the forty fourth minute, the 52nd of his national team profession in his 117th game, Giroud, 36, passed Thierry Henry because the leading scorer in France’s history.

“Most vital is to attain more goals to assist the team to achieve our goal and to take games step-by-step and go so far as we will,” said Giroud, who didn’t rating in the course of the 2018 World Cup but now has three on this edition.

In an effort to repeat as champions, though, France will need more of what Mbappé did on Sunday. As Poland began tiring chasing him around within the second half, Mbappé blazed a shot into the left corner for a 2-0 France lead within the 74th minute. It was his eighth profession goal within the World Cup, passing Pelé for many within the tournament before the age of 24. Mbappé didn’t stop there; he added a 3rd French goal in the primary minute of stoppage time, his World Cup-leading fifth. It put him in prime position for the tournament’s awards for the very best player and the best scorer.

“I got here here to win the World Cup, not the Golden Ball or the Golden Boot,” he said.

Sunday brought the kind of result that was expected from France. Even with a slew of injuries to key players — reminiscent of the world player of the yr Karim Benzema, defender Lucas Hernandez and midfielders N’Golo Kanté and Paul Pogba — France remained considered one of the title favorites. It had little trouble within the group stage, losing its final game to Tunisia after it had already earned a spot within the knockout stage and rested many starters.

Poland, however, barely survived the group stage to achieve the knockout round for the primary time since 1986. While it had been criticized for being too defensive and conservative despite possessing the star striker Robert Lewandowski, Poland surprised France in a hard-fought first half with a more aggressive attack.

With France stumbling defensively at times, the teams traded moments of pressure and missed opportunities until Giroud broke through near the top of the primary half. He received a pass at the sting of the penalty area from Mbappé, who drew Poland’s attention, after which fired a left-footed shot across his body past the Polish goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny.

Then within the second half, France broke away as Mbappé took over the sport. Within the 74th minute, he and forward Ousmane Dembélé raced down the sector after a Polish turnover, with Dembélé feeding an extended cross to Mbappé. Unmarked on the left side of the penalty box, Mbappé paused, collected himself and drilled a shot into the web for a 2-0 lead.

“No coach knows a recipe to stop Mbappé in the shape he’s in right away,” Coach Czeslaw Michniewicz of Poland said through an interpreter. After mentioning other stars reminiscent of Ronaldo, Messi and Lewandowski, Michniewicz said Mbappé will probably be “the one to take over” the game.

Even with a snug lead, Mbappé kept attacking. Soon after stoppage time began, he curled a shot from the sting of the penalty area into the highest right corner for his second goal of the sport after which celebrated.

“He’s unbelievable,” said Matty Money, the Polish defender given the unenviable task of marking Mbappé throughout the night. “I spent the afternoon watching his clips, and I obviously knew it was going to be a troublesome test. But when he gets the ball and he stops and moves, he’s the quickest thing I’ve ever seen.”

The lead prolonged by Mbappé was loads of cushion to resist a penalty kick converted by Lewandowski that was a mere consolation prize within the closing moments of the sport. France and Mbappé were well through by then and were already looking forward.

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