France vs. Poland: Top Storylines, Odds, Live Stream for World Cup 2022
France is the first reigning World Cup champion to attempt a title defense in the knockout round since 2006.
Les Blues became the first reigning champion to get out of the group stage since Brazil in 2006 by topping Group D, which set them up with a matchup against Poland on Sunday in Qatar.
France looked like one of the best teams in the group stage in wins over Australia and Denmark. It was overwhelming in attack until the final 30 minutes of the loss to Tunisia, which is when the regular starters entered the game.
Poland took second behind Argentina in Group C, but there are some concerns about how it will hold up in the knockout round.
The service to Robert Lewandowski has been lacking, and Wojciech Szczęsny was forced into making nine saves in the first half versus Argentina to keep the advancement hopes alive.
France is expected to advance to the quarterfinals, but another marvelous showing from Szczęsny could make things interesting inside the Al Thumama Stadium.
Odds and Match Info
90-Minute Money Line
France (-320; bet $320 to win $100)
Poland (+950; bet $100 to win $950)
To Advance To Next Round
Date: Sunday, December 4
Start Time: 10 a.m. ET
Live Stream: FoxSports.com and Fox Sports app
Kylian Mbappé and Co. Expected to Run Game
France is expected to spend most of the 90, or 120, minutes inside Poland's half of the field.
France showcased how dominant it can be in certain stretches of the group stage. Les Bleus bombarded the Tunisia defense in the final 30 minutes of the loss to the African side, and it rolled four goals past Australia in its group opener.
The reigning world champions finished Group D with an expected goals total of 7.2. Kylian Mbappé had a personal xG of 2.4, which was tied with Lionel Messi for the highest individual total in the group stage.
Mbappé, Olivier Giroud, Ousmane Dembélé and Antoine Griezmann could run rampant in the attacking third and create a ton of chances to put France ahead early before any adjustments are made.
Poland could hang on for a draw and extra time through an organized back line and a brilliant performance from Szczęsny, but that seems unlikely given how efficient the France attack has been in Qatar.
France could win the contest by multiple goals and set its sights on a potential quarterfinal clash with England.
If that occurs, France could make a case to be the overall tournament favorite ahead of the next round.
Poland Needs Stars to Shine in Upset Bid
Poland needs its two most notable and important stars to shine for an upset over France to happen.
Wojciech Szczęsny was the reason why Poland stayed within two goals of Argentina. He made nine saves, including a penalty denial of Lionel Messi, in the first half to keep a clean sheet going into halftime.
Szczęsny was beaten twice in the second half by Argentina, but he did enough to keep Poland ahead of Mexico in goal differential.
Poland once again needs the Juventus keeper to have a strong performance to frustrate Mbappé and Co. for however long the match goes on for.
Poland needs to be much better going forward to help Robert Lewandowski make an impact.
The Barcelona forward has one World Cup goal in six appearances. The lone tally came off a defensive mistake by Saudi Arabia, not because his teammates provided terrific service.
Lewandowski was held without a shot on target by both Mexico and Argentina. He had two shots on goal from five attempts versus Saudi Arabia.
Poland produced one shot on target and zero goals versus Mexico and Argentina. If it can’t have a functional attack against France, it could be doomed to a multi-goal loss in which it does not control any section of the contest.
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