France 3-1 Poland: Olivier Giroud breaks Thierry Henry's all-time goalscoring record as reigning World Cup champions reach the last eight

The 36-year-old tucked in from close range from Kylian Mbappe's perfect through-ball before Mbappe scored his fourth of this year's tournament to send Didier Deschamps' through to the last eight, where they will meet England or Senegal next Saturday.

By Alex Bowmer Published: 6 December 2022 - 4.29pm
Olivier Giroud celebrates scoring his record-breaking 52nd France goal

Olivier Giroud scored a record-breaking 52nd goal for France's men and Kylian Mbappe netted his fourth and fifth of this World Cup as the reigning champions beat Poland to reach the quarter-finals of this year’s tournament, where they will meet England or Senegal next Saturday.

France were certainly not firing on all cylinders in the first half as they struggled to break down a Poland side that had a few opportunities themselves before falling behind to Giroud's composed finish. 

Normal service was resumed when Mbappe got on the scoresheet in style midway through the second period before spectacularly making it 3-0 as Robert Lewandowski's late penalty proved a mere consolation. 

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After ringing the changes against Tunisia following Les Bleus’ qualification for the knockout stage and losing 1-0 to the North Africans, Didier Deschamps decided to revert to the line that started the 2-1 win over Denmark.

Deschamps’ opposite number Czeslaw Michniewicz made two alterations to the starting XI in their 2-0 defeat to Argentina to round off Group C, with Karol Swiderski and Birmingham’s Krystian Bielik making way for Jakub Kaminski and Sebastian Szymanski. 

As expected, the opening exchanges belonged largely to France, Raphael Varane heading Antoine Griezmann’s corner wide, Bartosz Bereszynski blocking Ousmane Dembele’s strike and Aurelien Tchouameni stinging the palms of Wojciech Szczesny, who had saved penalties in each of his last two games.

Dembele was looking extremely sharp early on and seized on Jakub Kiwior’s slack pass, but his shot was tame and comfortably dealt with, while at the other end, Poland's talisman Robert Lewandowski had his first sight of goal, but his effort was never going to trouble Hugo Lloris. 

It looked for all the world as if Giroud would become France’s highest scorer of all-time when he slid to meet Dembele’s cross, but the 36-year-old could only steer wide.

France were not wholly justifying their status as favourites though, and a jittery kick from Lloris was followed by two brilliant chances for Michniewicz’s men.

Jakub Kaminski saw his follow-up cleared off the line by Raphael Varane after Hugo Lloris had parried Piotr Zielinski's drive

Bereszynski initiated a neat one-two with Przemyslaw Frankowski, drove to the byline and cut a cross back for Piotr Zielinski, whose shot was parried by the knees of Lloris, with Zielinski’s follow-up blocked by Theo Hernandez and Jakub Kaminski’s effort cleared off the line by Varane. 

In the final minutes of the first half, the pace of the game seemed to be drop, and it looked inevitable that the contest would be goalless at the break. At the end of a patient passing move though, Mbappe found Giroud with a slide-rule pass and the Milan striker made no mistake, tucking into Szczesny’s far corner for the record.

Kaminski served one more notice of the threat he poses in stoppage time and Lloris had another nervous moment when he dropped a simple-enough catch before gratefully regathering.

Deschamps will have been relieved that his side came in at the interval with their noses in front and France came out with more energy at the start of the second half. 

Bereszynski was unlucky to be booked after getting a toe on the ball in an unenviable foot race with Dembele, Szczesny beating away the resulting free-kick from Griezmann. 

France were knocking at the door, but Poland were looking reasonably solid at the back, a cornerstone of their run to this stage of the tournament. 

Mbappe saw an attempted piledriver fly horribly off target before Giroud hit the side netting, while Hernandez was resolute to stop Kaminski getting a head on Frankowski's cross. 

Kylian Mbappe now leads the World Cup Golden Boot race after scoring his fourth and fifth goals in Qatar

However, the advantage was doubled as France counter-attacked at lightning space on 74 minutes. 

Varane did well to stick a leg out and retrieve possession in his own box and Griezmann booted away upfield, with Giroud collecting the ball out of the sky sensationally before feeding Dembele down the right, with the Barcelona forward turning on the afterburners and squaring to the unmarked Mbappe, who took a touch before a thunderous strike high past Szczesny. 

In the closing stages, Mbappe doubled his account, and this was an even better goal. 

Receiving Marcus Thuram's pass just inside the area, the Paris Saint-Germain superstar shifted the ball out of his feet with Arkadiusz Milik and Kamil Glik around him and curled sumptuously into Szczesny's top left-hand corner as the Juventus goalkeeper tried in vain to claw it away. 

Lewandowski was offered the chance to score from the spot at the death after Kamil Grosicki's cross hit Dayot Upamecano's arm.

The 34-year-old made a hash of his initial attempt as his stuttered run-up only led to him passing straight to Lloris, but a retake was ordered as the Tottenham stopper had strayed from his line, allowing Lewandowski to make amends.