By Can Erozden
ANKARA (AA) – Defending champions France cruised past Poland 3-1 on Sunday to qualify for the FIFA World Cup quarterfinals.
Things could have been different for Poland, who came within inches of an opener in the 37th minute, only to see Jakub Kaminski’s shot cleared off the line by Raphael Varane.
It was Olivier Giroud’s record-breaking strike near the end of the first half that gave France the lead.
The 36-year-old came up with a smart finish inside the area for his 52nd goal for France, eclipsing Les Bleus legend Thierry Henry as the country’s all-time leading scorer.
The second period at Al Thumama Stadium was all about young French superstar Kylian Mbappe.
He doubled the advantage in the 74th minute, blasting in a crisp shot past Poland’s goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny to finish off a French counterattack.
Mbappe was on the scoresheet again in stoppage time with a curler that nestled in Szczesny’s top corner.
Poland pulled one back from the penalty spot late in the dying minutes.
Dayot Upamecano was adjudged to have handled the ball, and Robert Lewandowski took two tries to grab the goal for Poland.
France will find out their quarterfinal opponent after Sunday’s second game between England and Senegal at the Al Bayt Stadium.