A rested and recharged France team continue their surge towards back-to-back World Cup glory with a showdown against Robert Lewandowski and Poland on Sunday.
Les Bleus topped Group D despite making nine changes for the final group game (a 1-0 loss to Tunisia) and will have a fresh Kylian Mbappe to unleash here. They also emphatically brushed off the World Cup winner's jinx, becoming the first defending champion to get out of the group stage at the next World Cup since Brazil in 2006.
Poland’s path was far tenser, qualifying on goal difference after a timid 2-0 loss to Argentina on Wednesday. Having reached the knockout rounds, Czeslaw Michniewicz’s men will need to show more attacking quality to advance any further, with World Cup odds rightfully labeling them underdogs in this matchup.
Get the lowdown via our free France vs. Poland World Cup betting picks and predictions ahead of this Sunday, December 4 Round of 16 clash.
France vs Poland odds
France vs Poland picks and predictions
First of all, wash away France’s loss to Tunisia. Didier Deschamps’ men had nothing to play for and took the chance to give the rest of the squad some game time. That means Les Bleus should be firing on all cylinders, with key starters returning after a week of rest.
That’ll be most impactful in the final third. As the French front three showed against Australia, once they find a rhythm, they bring a perfect blend of speed, power, and artistry. Once the door is ajar, Mbappe and company will power through it.
As a result, this Poland defense will be on high alert, sitting deep and relying on the midfield to provide a stubborn protective shield. But the back line looks ill equipped to handle the pace of Mbappe. Center back Kamil Glik is 34, not the most mobile, and had a horrid time against Argentina’s Julian Alvarez last time out. Olivier Giroud headers or Antoine Griezmann through balls could cause panic at any moment.
Plus, Mbappe is in the thick of the Golden Boot race so there’s little chance of him easing off if France appears to be cruising.
With Poland, you know what you’ll get — good organization and hard work all over the pitch. But I just can’t see the Poles winning enough of the individual battles or creating enough scoring chances. They had just five total shots on target during the group stage which speaks volumes for the kind of uphill battle that lies ahead here.
I like France to take control of the game in the first half, then pull away after half-time.
My best bet: France -1.5 (-111 at bet365)
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France vs Poland side analysis
This is France’s game to lose, and the odds reflect that. Les Bleus are clear favorites and really haven’t missed a beat at this tournament, even after adding striker Karim Benzema to a lengthy injury list before the first group game.
Mbappe is a big reason for that, with three goals so far in Qatar and a chance to establish himself firmly as the game’s numero uno as Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo exit the World Cup stage.
Deschamps doesn’t have too many selection headaches here. The French second-string lineup put in a disappointing outing against Tunisia, with no one really making a compelling case to face Poland. But Varane has looked a step slow at the back and that’s a cause for concern after his recent injury.
As long as Lewandowski is on the field, Poland has a chance — but can they get the ball to him? They’ll have to be willing to take some chances to supply the Barcelona man with the service he needs. If he’s isolated against Varane and Dayot Upamecano, Lewandowski will be feeding off scraps.
France vs Poland Over/Under analysis
Even if Poland bring the same unadventurous game plan that we saw against Argentina, look for plenty of goal-scoring chances on Sunday. The France attack is simply that good — and the incisive approach play and clinical finishing against Australia were good examples of what Deschamps’ side can do against defensive-minded teams.
Mbappe is a master at creating something out of nothing — a quick change of direction, a drop of the shoulder or simply pushing defenders deeper and deeper with the threat of his dribbling in full flight. Look for the PSG star to be a major factor in tilting this game toward the Over.
Though I expect a more focused defensive effort from France here with the high stakes of knockout soccer, it’s also worth noting that the defending champions have conceded in all three games.
At the other end, all eyes will be on Lewandowski, who has a weight off his shoulders after scoring his first World Cup goal against Saudi Arabia. But it’ll be up to Piotr Zielinski and Karol Swiderski to prevent Poland from being one dimensional in attack.
France vs Poland game info
|Location:||Al Thumama Stadium, Al Thumama, Qatar|
|Date:||Sunday, December 4, 2022|
|Time:||10:00 a.m. ET|
France vs Poland key injuries
France : Karim Benzema ST (Out), Lucas Hernandez LB (Out).
Poland: No injuries to report.