A little later, Hugo Lloris intercepts a cross that flies too close to the goal. The Eastern Europeans have come into play well here.
Suddenly Poland presses hard and actually gets the ball in the opponent’s penalty area. It’s only with luck that the leather stays in the ranks of the Équipe Tricolore.
Varane rises! A corner kick flies to the five from the right, where the defender prevails between two poles, but misses by a wide margin from close range!
After a few seconds, Griezmann gets the first free kick in the right half field, which he hits into the penalty area himself. However, the ball rushes untouched into the back of the goal.
France toasts. The ball rolls. Let the wild ride begin!
Both teams emerge from the catacombs of Al Thumama Stadium in Doha. The anthems of both nations sound. It will not be long.
The referee for this game comes from Venezuela and has the appropriate name Jesús Valenzuela. The 39-year-old will be assisted by linesmen Jorge Urrego and Tulio Moreno.
France and Poland have surprisingly rarely met in competitive matches over the years. France won the first two duels in the 1960s. At the 1982 World Cup in Spain, Poland won 3-2 in the match for third place, which is one of the country’s greatest successes. This was followed by only two draws in the 1994/95 European Championship qualifier. So historically, it’s going to be a close game.
After a deserved 2-0 defeat by Argentina, it’s no surprise that Poland coach Czesław Michniewicz made two changes. Krystian Bielik and Karol Świderski have to sit on the bench for the time being. Sebastian Szymański and Jakub Kamiński from VfL Wolfsburg will start instead.
Since France had already qualified for the round of 16 after the second matchday, Didier Deschamps used the last group game against Tunisia for rotations. Today there is a lively change back: stars like Antoine Griezmann, Ousmane Dembélé and Kylian Mbappé are back in the starting XI. Only Raphaël Varane and Aurélien Tchouaméni are back in the starting XI after losing to Tunisia.
A single goal decided the head-to-head comparison between Poland and Mexico to progress to the round of 16 behind Argentina. Both teams won against Saudi Arabia, lost against Argentina and drew in a direct duel. However, Poland beat the Saudis 2-0, while Mexico conceded a goal to make it 2-1. The team around superstar Robert Lewandowski is quite happy today in the KO phase.
France started the tournament very confidently. A 4-1 win over Australia was followed by a 2-1 draw against Denmark. So it was already clear after two match days that the Équipe Tricolore is in the round of 16 and that first place is practically certain. Accordingly, there was a lot of rotation recently against Tunisia and a narrow defeat was morosely accepted. Today, however, the switch has to be flipped again, because the opponent is quite dangerous.
European duel in the round of 16 of the World Cup! The reigning world champions from France play against Poland at 16:00. Warm welcome!