Antoine Griezmann, Kylian Mbappe, France
Les Bleus

France-Poland preview: 'Mbappé brings joy'

France-Poland preview: 'Mbappé brings joy'

Les Bleus
Publish on 12/02 at 11:58 - S. TELFORD


Antoine Griezmann has heaped praise on Paris Saint-Germain star Kylian Mbappé ahead of France's FIFA World Cup last 16 clash with Poland on Sunday.

France - Poland


- Kick-off: 15:00 GMT


PSG man Mbappé has lit up the competition in Qatar so far, pulling to the top of the scoring charts with three goals from his three games and throwing in an assist for good measure.


Group D winners France beat Australia and Denmark to punch their ticket into the next round, their final game a dead rubber against Tunisia in which Montpellier Hérault SC's Wahbi Khazri scored the only goal in what was nonetheless a surprise 1-0 reverse.


Mbappé back


France will meet Poland at the Al Thumama Stadium in Doha on Sunday afternoon and are expected to be back to full-strength for the match, with the likes of Mbappé returning to the starting line-up.


Already a World Cup winner with France in Russia four years ago, Mbappé's game has blossomed since then according to his les Bleus teammate Antoine Griezmann.


"Kylian, in 2018, wasn't the same player, he didn't have the same personality," the Atletico Madrid man said ahead of the game. "Now he's more a part of the group, in training, he talks a lot, he brings joy to life. He knows he's important to us and that every move he makes is going to be watched by fans, journalists, and teammates, but he's beyond reproach.

"We don't have a lot of time to spend together playing or training, so it's difficult to work on our games, but I'm starting to understand what he wants, what he needs, his game. It's easier the more we play."


That should be a galling thought for Poland, who haven't beaten France since August 1982, three years before France's oldest player, Stade Rennais FC goalkeeper Steve Mandanda, was born.




Mandanda is likely to give way to Hugo Lloris on Sunday, with Ousmane Dembélé and Aurelien Tchouaméni among the superstars set to make it back into the starting XI. Theo Hernandez will return at left back in lieu of his injured brother Lucas.


Poland booked their place in the last 16 after successfully navigating Group C, finishing as runners-up to Argentina and Mbappé's PSG teammate Lionel Messi.


Przemyslaw Frankowski (RC Lens) and Mateusz Wieteska (Clermont Foot 63) are the Poland players who currently ply their trade in France. The former has featured in every game, but the latter is yet to get off the bench.


Robert Lewandowski will be Poland's primary threat, but France won't take the eye off the ball with Juventus' Olympique de Marseille-owned Arkadiusz Milik either.


Possible teams


France: Lloris; Koundé, Varane, Upamecano, T. Hernandez; Tchouaméni, Rabiot; Dembélé, Griezmann, Mbappé; Giroud


Poland: Szczesny; Cash, Glik, Kiwior, Bereszynski; Zielinski, Bielik, Krychowiak, Frankowski; Milik, Lewandowski

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