Kylian Mbappe evokes memories of Pele in his prime as France march on

Mbappe and record-breaker Giroud fire France into quarter-finals - Franck Fife/AFP
Mbappe and record-breaker Giroud fire France into quarter-finals - Franck Fife/AFP

France 3 Poland 1

By Jeremy Wilson in Doha

It is hazardous to compare any footballer to Pele but, at a time when the whole football world is thinking about the greatest of all World Cup legends, no one in Qatar comes closer than Kylian Mbappe.

A new video went viral over the weekend of Pele performing a jaw-dropping montage of skills and just seeing him even through the prism of this grainy old footage was to be reminded of his genius. In Pele’s balance, turn of pace, array of tricks and low centre of gravity, it was also to be struck by the resemblance to Mbappe.

Pele was nearly 22 when he won the second of his three World Cups. Mbappe, another No. 10, would only be 23 if France do follow that great Brazilian side of 1958 and 1962 and become just the third team to win consecutive World Cups.

You would struggle to bet against it on this evidence. France might have been the worst impacted of the major nations by injuries to senior players but, not only do they have strength in depth, they have a player in Mbappe who is quite clearly operating at a different level to any other footballer on the planet.

His two goals here were sublime. He provided the assist for Olivier Giroud to surpass Thierry Henry as France’s record goalscorer and, above all, he played with a swagger, grace and smile that somehow transported what he had learnt in the Parisian commune of Bondy all the way to Doha.

It was genuinely electrifying.

France's Kylian Mbappe celebrates scoring their third goa - REUTERS
France's Kylian Mbappe celebrates scoring their third goa - REUTERS
France's forward #10 Kylian Mbappe (L) celebrates with France's forward #26 Marcus Thuram - AFP
France's forward #10 Kylian Mbappe (L) celebrates with France's forward #26 Marcus Thuram - AFP

When Mbappe smoothly accelerated past the Polish midfielder Przemysław Frankowski during the first-half, his recorded speed even flashed up on the big screen. The verdict was 35kph. That equates to 10.2 seconds for 100m.

Poor Matty Cash, the Aston Villa full-back who qualifies for Poland thanks to his grandparent’s heritage, had fared quite well but still looked like he had gone 12 rounds with Tyson Fury after he trudged off the pitch.

Mbappe, by contrast, had the smile and spring of someone who would have been perfectly happy to be told that the quarter-final would be starting right away. He also surprised some journalists by coming to answer media questions at a time when doubt has again been cast over his long-term future with Paris St Germain.

All smiles, Mbappe said that his absence from previous press conferences in Qatar was nothing personal and simply a consequence of his desire to focus fully on the job in hand.

“This is the tournament of my dreams - when I concentrate that’s the way I function - and I wanted to be ready,” he said, revealing that he has offered to pay a Fifa fine that has been slapped on the French Football Federation for his failure to attend a previous ‘man-of-the-match’ media conference.

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There were tensions following last summer’s European Championships between Mbappe and the French federation and, according to its president Noel Le Graet, he even angrily claimed that he no longer wanted to play for the national team. Mbappe had cited a perceived lack of support following the racist abuse he received on social media after missing a penalty against Switzerland.

That soon blew over and, after 74 goals for club and country in the 17 months since, has never looked better both physically and mentally. The goals here were Mbappe’s fourth and fifth of the tournament. “I’m not looking at the golden boot, the objective is to win the World Cup - the only thing I dream of is to win the world cup,” stressed Mbappe, when asked about his personal objectives.

His performances had been magnificent at both an individual and team level. Fifa’s technical committee, which is headed by Arsene Wenger, singled out Mbappe last week as one of the few players at this World Cup who was keeping the dying art of dribbling alive. Above all, they have identified the attacking advantage to France of having a player who could consistently beat an opponent. Mbappe did this at will here, first turning Cash one way and another, before forcing an excellent near-post save of Wojciech Szczesny.

His pass then split open the defence for Giroud to put France into the lead. They did not then sit back and, blending deft flicks and cheeky back-heels with frightening pace and thundering shooting power, the second-half turned into the Mbappe show.

Giroud scored his 52nd goal for France to claim the country's outright record - REUTERS/HANNAH MCKAY
Giroud scored his 52nd goal for France to claim the country's outright record - REUTERS/HANNAH MCKAY

Having cut in from the flank, one effort rebounded narrowly wide off Kamil Glik. Mbappe then made extra space with a darting run in from the left and, having shaped to curl the ball into the top right-hand corner, rocked back and simply blasted it past Szczesny at the near post. Szczesny had been goalkeeper of the tournament but was again helpless 17 minutes later when, after sprinting in from the left, Mbappe did deliver a trademark finish into the outside corner. Deschamps urged his players to feed off the joy that Mbappe had radiated. “Kylian can change a match in just a moment - we all want to share those smiles,” he said. “France needed a great Kylian Mbappe performance tonight and they got one.”

Match details

France (4-2-3-1): Lloris 7; Kounde 6 (Disasi, 90+2), Varane 6, Upamecano 7, Hernandez 6; Tchouamenie 8 (Fofana, 66), Rabiot 7; Dembele 7 (Coman, 76), Greizmann 8, Mbappe 9; Giroud 8 (Thuram, 76).
Booked: Tchouameni.
Goals: Giroud (44), Mbappe (74, 90+1).
Substitutes not used: Pavard, Guendouzi, Kolo Muani, Veretout, Mandanda, Saliba, Areola, Konate, Camavinga.
Poland (4-1-4-1): Szczesny 6; Cash 6, Glik 5, Kiwior 6 (Bednarek, 87), Bereszynski 5; Krychowiak 6 (Bielik, 71); Kaminski 6 (Zalewski, 71), Zielinski 5, Szymanski 5 (Milik, 64), Frankowski 6 (Grosicki, 87); Lewandowski 6.
Booked: Bereszynski, Cash.
Goal: Lewandowski (90+9, pen).
Substitutes not used: Jedrzejczyk, Wieteska, Szymanski, Skorupski, Swiderski, Zurkowski, Grabara, Piatek, Gumny, Skoras.
Referee: Jesus Valenzuela (Venezuela).
Attendance: 40,989.

06:00 PM

And then there were 13...

Thanks for joining us this afternoon. We'll be down to 12 teams left in Qatar by the end of the evening, marking the halfway point in the Round of 16.

We'll shortly have a full match report in above. Mr Bagchi has you covered for England vs Senegal.

05:54 PM

If England beat Senegal tonight...

They will play France next Saturday, December 10. Kick off is at 7pm UK time, with the match broadcast on ITV.

England have only met France twice at the World Cup, in 1966 and 1982. They were group stage games and England came out on top in both.

05:50 PM

England vs Senegal

Kicks off at 7pm. Rob Bagchi is over here to guide you through all the build up.

05:47 PM

Kylian Mbappe exclusive: 'I talked to Liverpool, but things were not over for me at PSG'

Jason Burt sat down with the France star in May, lifting the lid on his decision to stay in Paris – and the role played by Emmanuel Macron.

Read the exclusive.

05:39 PM

Didier Deschamps speaks

It's not been easy because they're a well-organised team and we had to make some positional changes at halftime.

We're a united squad and tonight the players' impeccable behaviour has been rewarded. Now we're going to spend a little bit of time with our families.

Didier Deschamp - Franck Fife/AFP
Didier Deschamp - Franck Fife/AFP

05:36 PM

Mbappe's first

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05:27 PM

Opta stat on King Kylian

Aged 23 years and 349 days, Kylian Mbappe is the youngest player to reach five knockout stage goals at the World Cup since Pelé in 1958 (17y 249d).

Kylian Mbappe - Odd Andersen/AFP
Kylian Mbappe - Odd Andersen/AFP

05:22 PM

Mbappe's thrown down the gauntlet for the Golden Boot

He's on five now after two goals against Poland with a chasing pack of several players on three.

05:02 PM

Rate the players

Who caught your eye and who turned your stomach?

05:00 PM

Full time: France 3 Poland 1

France extremely good in patches, Mbappe and Giroud both with little bits of superlative quality and once it was 2-0 it was all over. Poland did in fact have their moments and had Varane not been able to hack off the line in the first half, who knows. But all in all, the French absolutely deserved to win and whoever plays right back for England or Senegal is going to have a sleepless night ahead of the quarter final because Mbappe was unplayable cutting in from that left wing there on occasion.

From Jim White from the Al Capone Stadium: "My goodness. What do you say about Kylian Mbappe? He was simply sublime here. I'm not sure a combination of Trent Alexander Arnold, Kyle Walker and the Roadrunner could stop him. What a player he is. And he has a shot on him that should qualify as a weapon of mass destruction. Thanks to his two goals - and another from Olivier Giroud - France duly qualified in style. Robert Lewandowski's added time penalty was an irrelevance. Poland did their best, but it was never going to be enough. And the winner of England/Senegal up next for the French. With Mbappe in their number, you cannot see them being unduly concerned."

04:58 PM

GOAL! France 3 Poland 1 (Lewandowski 90+8 pen)

Another stuttering run-up, this time Lloris goes the wrong way and Lewandowski has his goal. Yay. Well done. That was a bit like a children's party game where you keep fixing it until the birthday boy wins a prize. A meaningless consolation and that's the end of the match.

Poland's Robert Lewandowski scores - AP
Poland's Robert Lewandowski scores - AP

04:54 PM

90+6 mins: France 3 Poland 0

Grosicki’s cross is adjudged to be handled in the France area and after a Var check, Robert Lewandowski has a chance to add a consolation for the Poles with a penalty.

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Lewandowski runs up, stutters, stops, Lloris steps forward and saves. He's miles off the line by the time RL hits it. Lloris saves. Terrible penalty but it's going to be retaken.

04:51 PM

90 mins: France 3 Poland 0

A tale of two strikers as Lewandowski receives the ball and scuffs a shot embarrassingly wide. He kicks at something on the turf in frustration.

There will be five minutes added on but we are just going through the motions here.

04:48 PM

GOAL! France 3 Poland 0 (Mbappe 90)

That is a peach. Mbappe has put the cherry on the top in the most stylish was imaginable. He's scored 16 in his last 14 games for France. Thuram with some good work down the left wing, plays it in to Mbappe on the corner of the box, a touch, he shifts it, and lashes the ball into the far corner. Pearler.

Dion Dublin on the BBC: "So young, 23 years old and he's playing the game as though he's in the park. He is an incredible footballer. He's just in a little bit of space, he has no right to score in that top corner. The keeper gets a slight hand to it but there's power in the shot as well as direction. Very, very impressive."

Mbappe - AP
Mbappe - AP

04:46 PM

88 mins: France 2 Poland 0

Jan Bednarek and Kamil Grosicki are getting a run-out. More sentimental than tactical one feels. This game has been over since the second goal.

04:46 PM

85 mins: France 2 Poland 0

Cash gets a booking that means he will miss Poland's next match. Alas, it is not going to be in Qatar. He'd fouled Thuram.

04:43 PM

83 mins: France 2 Poland 0

Kylian Mbappe becomes the youngest man to score eight times in World Cups. Eusebio the previous record holder. KM is 23, Eusebio was 24.

04:39 PM

80 mins: France 2 Poland 0

That second goal feels very much like it has wrapped things up. Stick a forchette in Poland.

Mbappe with a cute stepover outside the box, tees up Hernandez, who shoots over.

04:39 PM

76 mins: France 2 Poland 0

Double change. The hero Giroud amd Ousmane Dembele, mercurial in general but influential tonight come off.

Kingsley Coman and Marcus Thuram are the men who replace them.

04:34 PM

GOAL! France 2 Poland 0 (Mbappe 74)

That is absolute quality. Mbappe has received the ball in the inside left channel and I am sorry to say that he in acres of space. Where hell right back?

France broke. Lovely touch from Giroud to bring it down and play it out to the right, where Dembele has hauled his cul to join in the breakaway. Deep cross now from the right and there is K Mbappe in splendid isolation. He takes a touch. He eyes up the keeper. The game has stopped, as it does for the very, very best. He picks his spot. Goal. GSM Les Bleus.

Poland's goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny dives for the ball but fails to stop the shot from France's forward Kylian Mbappe - AFP via Getty
Poland's goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny dives for the ball but fails to stop the shot from France's forward Kylian Mbappe - AFP via Getty

04:30 PM

70 mins: France 1 Poland 0

Poland have a freekick and Kamil Glik has got up well for a header. Might feel he could have done better than put that over the bar.

Mbappe was barged in the box just now and went down. I don't VarVarVar had a look. Curious.

Krystian Bielik and Nicola Zalewski on for Grzegorz Krychowiak and Jakub Kaminski.

04:23 PM

65 mins: France 1 Poland 0

Kounde has done well to get down the right, perhaps moving more freely now he's not dragging a massive gold rope around with him. Giroud has got to the front post but cannot turn it in.

04:22 PM

62 mins: France 1 Poland 0

First change of the evening as Arkadiusz Milik comes on. Szymanski is the man who makes way.

04:21 PM

Necklace

'A little taste of Sunday league': France's Jules Kounde has to remove necklace during Poland match

04:18 PM

59 mins: France 1 Poland 0

Dembele pulls it back and Mbappe is about to fire when he has his pocket picked by a bustling Polish defender, Szymanski.

04:16 PM

56 mins: France 1 Poland 0

Mbappe cuts inside from the left, and crunches a shot at goal. Glik or possibly Krychowiak sticks out a leg and deflects it behind for a corner. Sorry. Was a bit of a crowd scene in there, hard to say who the deflection came off.

From that corner, the French keep it alive and punt it in the box. There is a three-way clash between Cash, Varane and Szczesny. With the two Polish guys on the deck, the ball is loose and Giroud puts it in the net with a bicycle kick! Pretty sure that's not going to be allowed and thus it proves - although there's a nervous moment for the Poles when the ref appears to be considering it. He'd blown almost as there was contact, with safety on his mind re a head clash, and Giroud's lovely finish was moot.

04:12 PM

53 mins: France 1 Poland 0

Glik again has his positioning spot on as he cuts out a cross.

Chris Sutton on the BBC on Giroud: "Olivier Giroud will be absolutely delighted. He is a brilliant professional. France have had some wonderful, wonderful players. To move past Thierry Henry is absolutely amazing. Giroud is such an important, integral part of the team. A wonderful link man and a goalscorer."

04:11 PM

50 mins: France 1 Poland 0

Glik with a super tackle on Mbappe.

04:08 PM

47 mins: France 1 Poland 0

Griezmann cracks the shot at goal from a narrow angle, needs quite a sharp save. The element of surprise was key.

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04:05 PM

46 mins: France 1 Poland 0

The teams resume, and the first moment of note is a booking for Bereszynski as he brings down Dembélé. The Frenchman had gone past him and Bereszynski didn't have much choice.

Here is Jim White from the Al Smith Stadium:

"During halftime, footage was shown on the giant screen of the stadium DJ bouncing around to some Eurotrash number he was playing. And guess what? Yes, he was wearing an adidas top. Couldn't quite see, but imagine he was drinking Coca Cola and drives a Hyundai too. Even the entertainment at Fifa events comes fully endorsed by the family of sponsors."

France: Hugo Lloris (c), Jules Kounde, Raphael Varane, Dayot Upamecano, Theo Hernandez, Antoine Griezmann, Aurelien Tchouameni, Adrien Rabiot, Ousmane Dembele, Olivier Giroud, Kylian Mbappe

Poland: Wojciech Szczesny, Matty Cash, Kamil Glik, Jakub Kiwior, Bartosz Bereszynski, Przemyslaw Frankowski, Grzegorz Krychowiak, Sebastian Szymanski, Jakub Kaminski, Piotr Zielinski, Robert Lewandowski (c).

03:49 PM

Half time: France 1 Poland 0

Giroud has broken the France goalscoring record with that crisp little finish, his 52nd goal in national colours and making up for arguably an easier chance earlier. France have the lead but they have not been convincing.

The Poland defence parts for France's Olivier Giroud - Reuters
The Poland defence parts for France's Olivier Giroud - Reuters

Here is Jim White from the Al Green Stadium with his half-time verdict:

"At half time, the cameras picked out a chap in the crowd in a beret and striped jumper holding up a cardboard, hastily hand-written sign that read: Gagner Avec Style. It took a while, but the goal eventually came. and stylish it was all right. Kylien Mbappe served up a peach of a pass, and as he swivelled and shot into the corner of the Polish net, Olivier Giroud became France’s all time leading scorer.

It is National Miners’ Day in Poland. And until then the Poles had been digging deep. If we had expected them to play for penalties from the kick off,  they had good chances. Robert Lewandowski had a smart shot that went wide, Piotr Zielinski’s effort required a rebound off both Hugo Lloris’s knees to keep it out of the net, while Matty Cash’s follow up was only kept out by Raphael Varane’s alertness on the line.

But you suspect the pattern has now been set. The style may be unleashed in the second half. Indeed, the way Mbappe has twice left Cash with twisted blood, suggests Wojciech Szczesny is going to have a very busy second half."

03:47 PM

45 mins: France 1 Poland 0

Poland not going to lie down though. They come again and win a corner when a shot is deflected into the side netting.

From the resultant corner, a skier, headed back across and Lloris comes for what should be a regulation gather. He's dropped it! Sacre bleu. Gratefully pounces on the loose ball. Needless error from Lloris goes unpunished.

And that is going to be the last meaningful action of the first half.

03:44 PM

GOAL! France 1 Poland 0 (Giroud 44)

He has done it! The much-maligned former Arsenal man has atoned for his previous miss and Les Bleus have the lead. It is a lovely ball through from Mbappe, Giroud receives it to feet in the box and tucks it away very smartly.

Questions being asked in the Poland defence: the player who was marking Giroud stepped up and tried to play him offside. But nobody else got the memo, and Olivier was just allowed to stroll through.

France's Olivier Giroud celebrates - Reuters
France's Olivier Giroud celebrates - Reuters

03:41 PM

41 mins: France 0 Poland 0

Stirring stuff this game. The underdog having a go, probably having the best of the chances in fact. But the French threat is ever present.

A Fifa official has made Kounde take his necklace off!

03:39 PM

37 mins: France 0 Poland 0

How has it not gone in?!?! Oh Poland. Good break, a shot comes in from Zielinski, Lloris blocks it. Zielinski again with the follow up. Saved again. A third shot - brilliantly turned off the line by Varane.

03:36 PM

35 mins: France 0 Poland 0

France now. Hard shot from Mbappe on the left, tipped behind for a corner.. Corner. Now the ball is ballooning around in the box and a sore collision between Upamecano and the Polish keeper. Both are ok.

03:35 PM

32 mins: France 0 Poland 0

Tell you what, Claude, France are in a fight here. Another good spell for Poland sees them flash the ball across the France goal.

03:33 PM

30 mins: France 0 Poland 0

Tchouaméni and Lewandowski come together for a 50-50. Thought it was fair game for both of them but the ref has booked the Frenchman. And given Polska a freekick central 25 yards out. Robert cannot get it over the wall.

03:29 PM

28 mins: France 0 Poland 0

How has he missed?! France with a sweeping break after Poland give the ball away with a howler. Griezmann down the inside right, out to Dembele on the overlap and he crosses low. Giroud! Has failed to apply the finish at the far post. Real let off.

Olivier Giroud fails to score - Getty
Olivier Giroud fails to score - Getty

03:25 PM

24 mins: France 0 Poland 0

Good wee spell from Poland. They have had both territory and possession. Lewandowski receives the ball, lays it off to Kaminski but the passing is not up to snuff.

Dembele has given Bartosz Bereszynski a nasty whack in the shins and Poland have a freekick.

Jim White from the Al Murray Stadium: "France are a magnificent team, full of brilliant talent of a once-in-a-llfetime vintage. Which is apparently not enough to bring the locals out on a Sunday afternoon. There are more gaps in the stands than in an eight year old's smile. But no doubt Fifa will tell us the place is sold out."

03:24 PM

22 mins: France 0 Poland 0

So far so good for Poland. No really threatening moments. Jules Koundé has had a shot from outside the box, straight down the keeper's pipe.

03:21 PM

20 mins: France 0 Poland 0

Dangerous ball into the Poland box, bit of a bundle and a suggestion that it has hit a Poland defender on the arm under pressure from Grieze. Marais Erasmus is not going to rock and roll this one though.

But now Poland get a chance to hit a ball forward, Lewandowski outmuscles a defender and gets his shot away from outside the area.

03:20 PM

19 mins: France 0 Poland 0

Not sure he's had a kick, old Bobby Lewandowski. Mbappe is all over it though, involved in everything.

03:18 PM

17 mins: France 0 Poland 0

Your reminder that the winner of this will face the winner of England vs Senegal on Saturday night.

03:17 PM

16 mins: France 0 Poland 0

Rabiot with rather an ugly tackle on Krychowiak. I am a little surprised he didn't get a booking there.

In any event, Poland do not hold on to the ball for very long and Dembele has embarked on a slaloming run, nobody engages with him and he is allowed to get a low shot in on goal.

03:15 PM

14 mins: France 0 Poland 0

Ball through the Polska defence for Giroud to chase. At the gallop. Keeper is out in time.

03:14 PM

12 mins: France 0 Poland 0

Aurelien Tchouameni tries his luck with a shot from outside the box. Bit of an awkward bounce in front of Wojciech Szczesny but the Juventus keeper is up to it.

Cash was talking before the game about the challenges of facing Mbappe. The French star has done him for pace here.

Matty Cash has his hands full with Kylian Mbappe - Getty
Matty Cash has his hands full with Kylian Mbappe - Getty

03:12 PM

10 mins: France 0 Poland 0

It is all France so far, and no reason to suppose that will change. Poland have come for the 0-0 and let the devil ride. Solid in defence, all behind the ball. Mbappe give time to measure out a cross but that's well repelled.

03:07 PM

Snooker loopy

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03:07 PM

6 mins: France 0 Poland 0

Matty Cash getting involved in a good press, Poles working as a team here and they harass Les Bleus into ceding possession. Cash with a cross but not a lot to write home about.

03:04 PM

Player ratings

Who is impressing you and who is stressing you?

03:04 PM

3 mins: France 0 Poland 0

It's all France in these early stages. They have got Poland well pinned back and are now having a corner. Griezmann again to deliver. Varane gets up above all rivals and heads it wide.

03:02 PM

1 mins: France 0 Poland 0

Bereszynski gets an early reducer in on Antoine Griezmann. AG himself will take a handily placed freekick out on the right about eight yards outside the box. But it is a poor delivery and drifts harmlessly out.

03:00 PM

It will be France to kick off

9 changes from their last group game.

03:00 PM

Exciting!

Who do you fancy? French are 2/5 to win in 90 and 1/5 to qualify. Hard to see beyond them but with a splendid goalie in Szczesny, a great striker in Lewandowski, and a man who used to work in River Island in Slough, the Poles carry a puncher's chance.

France: Hugo Lloris (c), Jules Kounde, Raphael Varane, Dayot Upamecano, Theo Hernandez, Antoine Griezmann, Aurelien Tchouameni, Adrien Rabiot, Ousmane Dembele, Olivier Giroud, Kylian Mbappe

Poland: Wojciech Szczesny, Matty Cash, Kamil Glik, Jakub Kiwior, Bartosz Bereszynski, Przemyslaw Frankowski, Grzegorz Krychowiak, Sebastian Szymanski, Jakub Kaminski, Piotr Zielinski, Robert Lewandowski (c).

02:56 PM

And an equally splendid renewal

of Mazurek Dąbrowskiego, aka Poland Is Not Yet Lost.

02:55 PM

Anthem time

Magnificent rendition of La Marseillaise.

02:49 PM

Rio Ferdinand

watching a video of Mbappe. "I feel nervous watching it I cannot sit still."

Kylian Mbappe of France goes through warm-up routines - EPA-EFE/Shutterstock
Kylian Mbappe of France goes through warm-up routines - EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

Mauricio Pochettino: "he has won the World Cup and is still only 23, it is still a child."

02:48 PM

French defence analysis

BBC's Laura Georges: "Dayot Upamecano is a shy person but he is showing his talent this tournament. He is strong, powerful, we will need him."

02:44 PM

Busy boy

Wojciech Szczesny has made the most saves of any keeper at the World Cup.

02:37 PM

Matty Cash

of Slough and Poland. "When I was 17 I was working at River Island. I never thought I would be playing at a major tournament."

He explains to the BBC's Juliette Ferrington how he got Messi's shirt after the Argentina game. Seems like a thoroughly nice chap. Here's the Aston Villa man, who has Polish ancestry on his mother's side, in action against the great man the other day.

Argentina's Lionel Messi tries to score in front of Poland's Matty Cash - AP
Argentina's Lionel Messi tries to score in front of Poland's Matty Cash - AP

02:37 PM

Not directly relevant

But I like the Messi as Great Britain vibe here.

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02:33 PM

The winner of this

will play the winner of England vs Senegal. That match, as you may be aware, kicks off at 7pm this evening.

02:32 PM

Two great forwards on display then

Robert Lewandowski and Kylian Mbappe.

02:19 PM

Player ratings

Be sure and rate the players for France vs Poland with our patented Player Rating Device. You will not be sorry, or your money back.

02:17 PM

Who do you think will win?

Let us know with our match predictor.

02:03 PM

The teams

now with first names, too.

France: Hugo Lloris (c), Jules Kounde, Raphael Varane, Dayot Upamecano, Theo Hernandez, Antoine Griezmann, Aurelien Tchouameni, Adrien Rabiot, Ousmane Dembele, Olivier Giroud, Kylian Mbappe

Poland: Wojciech Szczesny, Matty Cash, Kamil Glik, Jakub Kiwior, Bartosz Bereszynski, Przemyslaw Frankowski, Grzegorz Krychowiak, Sebastian Szymanski, Jakub Kaminski, Piotr Zielinski, Robert Lewandowski (c).

Frankly as much for the benefit of your humble live blogger than anything. Some good Scrabble scores in there as always from our wonderful Polska pals.

A France supporter pre-match - AFP
A France supporter pre-match - AFP

01:53 PM

The team news

France: Lloris, Kounde, Varane, Upamecano, Theo Hernandez, Tchouameni, Rabiot, Dembele, Griezmann, Mbappe, Giroud. Subs: Pavard, Disasi, Guendouzi, Muani, Fofana, Veretout, Mandanda, Saliba, Coman, Areola, Konate, Camavinga, Thuram.

Poland: Szczesny, Bereszynski, Glik, Kiwior, Cash, Sebastian Szymanski, Krychowiak, Frankowski, Zielinski, Kaminski, Lewandowski. Subs: Jedrzejczyk, Wieteska, Bednarek, Bielik, Milik, Damian Szymanski, Grosicki, Skorupski, Swiderski, Zurkowski, Zalewski, Grabara, Piatek, Gumny, Skoras.

France coach Didier Deschamps reverts to the XI that beat Denmark in the group phase for the defending champions' World Cup last-16 clash against Poland on Sunday. Keeper Hugo Lloris celebrates a record 142nd cap.

Kylian Mbappe, who has scored three goals in Qatar and Olivier Giroud, chasing a record-improving 52nd goal for France, lead the attacking line with Ousmane Dembele.

Raphael Varane, who has been slowly getting into action in Qatar, pairs up in central defence with Dayot Upamecano.

Robert Lewandowski starts as a lone forward in Poland's 4-5-1 formation.

Poland players pre-match - FIFA via Getty Images
Poland players pre-match - FIFA via Getty Images

11:55 AM

Good afternoon

Welcome to our coverage for the third last-16 game between defending World Champions France and Poland, who emerged from a group with Argentina, finishing second.

Almost everything favours France as it stands. They topped their group on six points after beating Australia 4-1 in their opening game and then seeing off Denmark 2-1. Their final game was a slight disappointment as they lost 1-0 to Tunisia. Though in that game manager Didier Deschamps understandably chose to rest some of his big names. He did not seem too bothered by the loss.

"We have 24 players. The 24 won the first two games and the 24 lost the third one," Deschamps told a news conference.

"It will serve us for the next game. Some of the players will have recharged the batteries. There were reasons for the players to be rested. Games are now 100-minutes long. These are my choices, and I stand by them. Regardless of the result, we would have to play in four days."Still, they go into this game as third favourites at 21/4, behind Brazil and Argentina.

Poland had a mixed group stage – like many teams – their first game was a goalless draw with Mexico in which Robert Lewandowski missed a penalty. They then beat Saudi Arabia 2-0 before losing 2-0 to Argentina, though Mexico's win over Saudi Arabia meant Poland went through on goal difference over the North Americans.

Perhaps Poland's tournament can be summed up by their best player being goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny – who has saved two penalties on Poland's route to the last 16. Of course, all England fans should have half an eye on this game as the winner will play England or Senegal, tonight's later game.

This game starts at 3pm GMT and we will be here to take you through all of the build-up, live updates and reaction, starting with the team news, which is coming shortly.