England to meet France in World Cup quarters after easy wins in round of 16
Mbappé scores twice as defending champs beat Poland; England blanks Senegal
Kylian Mbappé scored two goals and set up another for Olivier Giroud, giving France a 3-1 victory over Poland and a spot in the World Cup quarter-finals on Sunday in Doha, Qatar.
The Paris Saint-German forward now has a tournament-leading five goals and the 2018 champions are within three wins of defending their title.
Robert Lewandowski scored from the penalty spot in second-half stoppage time for Poland.
No country has repeated as World Cup champions in six decades — since Brazil achieved the feat by claiming consecutive trophies in 1958 and 1962. Italy is the only other nation to have won two straight, in 1934 and 1938.
Later In Al Khor, England captain Harry Kane scored his first goal of this year's World Cup, helping his team beat Senegal 3-0 Sunday and setting up a match against France in the quarter-finals on Saturday.
Mbappé scored his first in the 74th minute when he was left unmarked to blast in a long-range shot following a counterattack. He added another in stoppage time when Poland goalkeeper Wojciech Szczęsny could only get a weak glove on another powerful shot from the man in the No. 10.
Having also provided two assists, Mbappé has easily been the most productive player in Qatar.
Mbappé celebrated his second goal by waving his arms for the crowd to cheer louder. Then he hoisted himself up onto the crossbar shortly after the final whistle in another celebratory gesture in front of France's fans.
The French team took the lead when Mbappé threaded a pass to Giroud and the AC Milan striker quickly slotted the ball into the far corner. It was Giroud's 52nd career international goal, breaking a tie with Thierry Henry on France's all-time scoring list.
Unexpected starter role
After Mbappé leaped into Giroud's arms to celebrate, pumping his fists, Giroud held up seven fingers to the cameras — five on one hand and two on the other for "52."
It's all the more sweet for Giroud because he wasn't even supposed to be a starter on this year's squad until Ballon d'Or winner Karim Benzema was ruled out because of injury. Giroud also scored two goals in France's opening 4-1 win over Australia.
France, however, wasn't so sure to go this far when several other top players were ruled out shortly before the tournament because of physical issues, including midfielders Paul Pogba and N'Golo Kanté, central defender Presnel Kimpembe, left back Lucas Hernandez, and forward Christopher Nkunku are also out.
On a record-setting night for France, goalkeeper Hugo Lloris matched the national team mark of 142 appearances held by Lilian Thuram.
The previous defending champion to reach the quarter-finals was Brazil in 2006 when France beat the South Americans before eventually losing in the final to Italy in a penalty shootout.
Bellingham key for England
Meanwhile, Kane scored for the 52nd time for England to move within one of Wayne Rooney's England record. He also overtook Gary Lineker as his country's leading scorer in major tournaments with 11 goals.
"The ball just sat up nicely and the connection was perfect," Kane said. "I had one just before that I should have done better with so it was nice to see that one go in."
Jordan Henderson and Bukayo Saka also scored at Al Bayt Stadium while Jude Bellingham played a key role in the opening two goals and Phil Foden had two assists.
England reached the semifinals at the last World Cup in Russia.
"We enjoyed this one, but of course our focus turns straight to that," Kane said. "It's going to be a really tough game. They're reigning champions but it'll be a good battle."
Bellingham crossed for Henderson to score the first goal in the 38th minute.
Up to then, Senegal had been creating the more dangerous chances. Ismaila Sarr sent a shot over from close range and then England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford had to throw out an arm to block another effort from Boulaye Dia.
All that without the team's player, Sadio Mane, who was ruled out of the tournament with an injury before play even started in Qatar.
Everything changed once Bellingham seized control, charging into the box before setting up Henderson. In first-half stoppage time, he went on another unstoppable run, carrying the ball from just outside England's box and deep into Senegal's half. Foden then played in Kane to double England's lead.
With the 1966 World Cup champions well on their way to a showdown with France, Saka scored in the 57th minute by converting Foden's cross.
FIFA official Wenger criticizes protesting teams
FIFA official Arsene Wenger took a shot at World Cup teams who tried to make political statements in Qatar, saying Sunday they lacked focus for their first games.
Wenger said teams who had a good opening game were mentally ready to focus on the competition and "not on political demonstration." The former Arsenal manager did not specify which teams he was talking about while speaking during an analysis of group games at a FIFA-hosted media event as Chief of Global Football Development.
Denmark and Germany both under-performed in their first games. The Danes drew 0-0 with Tunisia and the Germans lost to Japan 2-1.
They were among seven European soccer federations at the World Cup who wanted their captains to wear an armband as part of a Dutch diversity and anti-discrimination campaign to expose the host nation's poor human rights record.
However, Wenger overlooked the part FIFA played in the dispute by avoiding the issue before teams arrived at the World Cup. Then, seemingly under pressure from Qatari authorities, letting it spill into Nov. 21, hours before England and the Netherlands played and won their first games.
Hours before those games, FIFA forced a climbdown from the European federations by threatening to ensure England captain Harry Kane and Netherlands counterpart Virgil van Dijk would be shown a yellow card. They would have risked getting a second yellow and being sent off and suspended for the next game.
Denmark played on Nov. 22 without protest, one day before Germany's players lined up for their pregame team photo and covered their mouths to show they felt silenced by World Cup organizers. Both teams later failed to advance to the knockout round.
The Danish soccer federation was consistently critical before the tournament of Qatar's treatment of the migrant workers who helped build World Cup projects, and brought toned-down uniforms with a black option to represent the colour of mourning. The black jersey was not worn in Denmark's three games.
Wenger, who is a long-time commentator for Qatari broadcaster beIN Sports, also said Sunday the World Cup games had been popular around the world "despite all the negative publicity we got before."
With files from James Robson, The Associated Press
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