France vs Poland World Cup 2022: Date & Time, Match Preview, Prediction, Team News

Poland are up next for reigning champions France at the World Cup on Sunday, December 4, with kickoff at 18:00 local time in Qatar.
December 04, 2022 | 14:38

Two teams who ended their World Cup 2022 group-stage campaigns with defeat prepare for battle in Sunday's last-16 clash at the Al-Thumama Stadium as reigning champions France take on Poland.

Les Bleus finished first in Group D to make it through to the knockout rounds, while Czeslaw Michniewicz's men set up a tie with the holders after placing second in Group C.

When is France vs Poland?

France vs Poland World Cup 2022: Date & Time, Match Preview, Prediction, Team News
Photo: Getty Images

France will face Poland at the Al Thumama Stadium in Doha on Sunday, December 4, with kickoff at 18:00 local time in Qatar.

Here's how that translates into time zones across some of the world's major territories.

Match preview

Having become the first manager to lead his side through to the knockout rounds of the 2022 World Cup, France coach Didier Deschamps was not afraid to ring the changes for Les Bleus' final Group D showdown with Tunisia, but a second-string side could not remain perfect in Qatar.

With the likes of Kylian Mbappe, Ousmane Dembele and Antoine Griezmann all kept in reserve, Tunisia took advantage and drew first blood through Wahbi Khazri in the 58th minute, although Griezmann thought that he had leveled the scores right at the death.

However, VAR intervened after the final whistle to rule the Atletico Madrid man's goal out for offside, which has reportedly led France to file a complaint with FIFA, but Les Bleus nevertheless held on to their first-place standing, keeping Australia at bay on goal difference.

France vs Poland World Cup 2022: Date & Time, Match Preview, Prediction, Team News
Photo: Getty Images

The 1998 and 2018 champions have now achieved a surprising first at the World Cup, as they have qualified for three successive knockout stages for the first time ever, while they have also become the first defending champions to make it out of the groups since Brazil in 2006.

Furthermore, Les Bleus have managed to progress from each of their last five last-16 ties at the World Cup, and having missed out on a seventh consecutive win on football's grandest stage, Deschamps's side need no added motivation to see off a shot-shy Poland.

Poland goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny joked that he lost a bet with Argentina superstar Lionel Messi over the awarding of a penalty in his side's defeat to the South American champions, but the Juventus man cannot put a price on saving a spot kick from the seven-time Ballon d'Or winner.

The awarding of the penalty was criticized to the extreme, but Szczesny guessed correctly to keep out Messi's effort in their Group C finale, although his efforts were ultimately in vain as Alexis Mac Allister and Julian Alvarez struck for La Albiceleste in the second half.

Despite taking just four points from their three Group C fixtures, Poland's goal difference of 0 saw them pip Mexico (-1) to second place by the skin of their teeth and seal a last-16 spot for the first time since the 1986 edition, which was coincidentally held in Mexico.

Michniewicz's side has not brought their best shooting boots to Qatar, though, as they have recorded a mere five shots on target in the 2022 World Cup so far - three of which came in their matchday two wins over Saudi Arabia - although they had kept four clean sheets on the bounce before Mac Allister breached their defense.

It has been 40 years since France last suffered a defeat against Poland, who knocked them out of the World Cup in 1982 before a 4-0 friendly win later that year, but Les Bleus have since strung together a seven-game unbeaten streak versus the Group C runners-up, most recently prevailing 1-0 in 2011 friendly.

Teams

France

Defending champions France faced an unlikely defeat against Tunisia in their final group match. However, they’d have to call it an upset and move on, considering the fact that they tried their bench in that match. Les Blues have looked impressive in their first two matches. They scored four goals against Australia and two against Denmark.

Poland

Poland struggled to move into the round of 16. Although they have quality, particularly in Robert Lewandowski, their performance against Argentina lacked sting. They heavily depended on their goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny and showed no interest in scoring as they were aware that even a draw would take them through. They can’t afford to be that defensive against France, who will torment them with back-to-back attacks.

Key Players

France vs Poland World Cup 2022: Date & Time, Match Preview, Prediction, Team News
Photo: Getty Images

French striker Olivier Giroud needs one goal to take sole possession of the top spot on the country's all-time scoring record. He will try and use this opportunity. And, it will be Szczesny who will stand between these two teams.

Prediction

Poland’s defensive strategies won’t work against France, just like it didn’t against Argentina. France will win 3-0 to advance to the quarter-finals.

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