Les Bleus take on Lewandowski and Co. in the round of 16 and are targeting a spot in the quarterfinal, where they would face England or Senegal.

The FIFA World Cup round of 16 has officially kicked off! The Netherlands got the knockout stage underway with their showdown against the USA while defending champions France were forced to wait a day extra for their clash. The European giants take on Poland at the Al-Thumama Stadium on Sunday aiming to make it back-to-back titles.

Les Bleus enjoyed a relatively straightforward group-stage campaign. Despite going 1-0 down after only nine minutes against Australia, the French went on to win their opening game by a convincing 4-1 scoreline, with Mbappe, Rabiot, and Giroud (2x) getting on the scoresheet.

After that was a trickier encounter with Denmark, but once again, Didier Deschamps' men did their business. The Scandinavian heavyweights held the reigning champions in the first half but an electric brace from Kylian Mbappe secured them the victory, with the PSG star scoring the winner just four minutes before the end of normal time.

As a result, the French became the first nation to qualify for the round of 16 in this tournament and they achieved this after only two games. Their final group-stage fixture was against Tunisia and Deschamps opted to rest his key players, which led to a shock 1-0 loss to the North Africans.

Nonetheless, the two-time World Cup winners topped their group and became the first defending champions since Brazil in 2006 to make it into the knockout stage. However, that is far from their goal. Mbappe and Co. will look to make it back-to-back victories and will have to overcome a rough road.

Should France get past the Polish, then England or Senegal will be their opponents in the quarterfinals. Additionally, Spain, Portugal, or Switzerland could be their rivals in the semifinals should Deschamps' men reach that far. Regardless, the European giants must first focus on beating the opponent at hand.

Poland, likewise, enter this round on the back of a defeat. However, the Eagles' loss left a bitter taste as the UEFA nation were torn apart by Argentina in their final group stage match.

Despite needing a result to win the group ahead of La Albiceleste, Lewandowski and Co. chose a negative approach, sitting back and opting–but failing–to catch the South Americans on the counter.

Czesław Michniewicz's men were beaten 2-0 and this wasn't their only poor display this tournament. Poland kicked off their campaign against Mexico and despite being awarded a second-half penalty, they were held to a drab goalless draw by El Tri.

After that came a showdown with Saudi Arabia and while the Eagles triumphed 2-0 on that day, the Group C runners-up were outplayed and dominated by the Middle Eastern nation.

In fact, Poland only made it out of the group on goal difference, narrowly edging into the round of 16 ahead of Mexico. Lewandowski and Co. will need to up their game if they are to lay a glove on France.

Team news

France: Alphonse Areola is fit again, meaning Didier Deschamps has a fully-fit squad to choose from. Expect tons of changes to be made to the lineup against Tunisia, with Kylian Mbappe, Olivier Giroud, Ousmane Dembele, and Antoine Griezmann all set to start. Rabiot and Lloris should also reclaim their starting eleven spots.

Poland: The Eagles have a fully-fit squad to choose from as well. Robert Lewandowski will start up front, with Arkadiusz Milik and Piotr Zielinski looking to aid him in the attack.

Key stats

  • These two nations have only met once before at the FIFA World Cup.

  • Their one and only encounter at the FIFA World Cup came in the 1982 edition, which Poland won 3-2.

  • However, Les Bleus are unbeaten in their last seven encounters with the Eagles (W3, D4).

  • Since the introduction of the round of 16, France qualified for this stage of the FIFA World Cup five times before and have never failed to progress to the quarterfinals after making it this far.

  • Poland have faced the reigning champions in two previous editions of the FIFA World Cup and on both occasions, the Central European side went unbeaten, beating Brazil 1-0 in 1974 and drawing 0-0 with Germany in 1978.

Broadcast listings


Match details, result and original broadcast info

France 3 - 1 Poland

December 4, 2022 10:00amAl Thumama Stadium (ad-Dōha (Doha))

This match has ended. Below are the original Live broadcast details for this match.

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