World Cup Daily: England and France have prepared the first meeting of the World Cup KO round

After each matchday of the 2022 FIFA World Cup, Sportsnet.ca’s World Cup Daily blog will recap the day’s events and provide an outlook for the next day’s matches.

Here’s what happened in Qatar on Sunday, in case you missed it…

THE RESULTS

France 3, Poland 1 in Doha: game report || Match Statistics

England 3, Senegal 0 in Khor: game report || Match Statistics

encounter in the quarterfinals: England vs. France in Lusail (December 10 at 2pm ET)

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KEY TALKING POINTS

Mbappé and Giroud send France to the quarterfinals

(AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)

Generations old and young joined forces on Sunday with devastating effect for France Les Bleus one step closer to their ambitious goal of becoming only the third men’s team to win the World Cup again – and the first since Brazil won back-to-back trophies in 1958 and 1962.

A comprehensive 3-1 win over Poland was thanks in large part to Olivier Giroud, who scored the opener with his 52nd goal for the France men’s side, overtaking Thierry Henry to become the team’s top scorer.

Not to be outdone was Kylian Mbappé, who scored twice after assisting Giroud’s opening goal to become the first player in World Cup history to score eight career goals before his 24th birthday.

Mbappé’s first goal of the evening in the 74th minute underlined the best qualities of this sensational French side. Central defender Raphaël Varane overcame Polish striker Robert Lewandowski to start the counterattack. Striker Antoine Griezmann showed great selflessness by helping to regain the ball in his own penalty area. Giroud had a great touch as he kept the attacking sequence going. Ousmane Dembele’s speed and directness in moving the ball forward pushed Poland back onto their heels. And Mbappé’s sheer ability to unleash a powerful shot into the top left corner that no goalkeeper could have held was something to behold.

“He can change a game in just a moment and he always plays with so much joy and we all want to share that smile with him,” France coach Didier Deschamps told reporters after the game. “France needed a great Kylian Mbappé tonight and they got one.”

Senegal burns out with heavy losses against England

(AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)

Senegal made their World Cup debut in grand style in 2002, defeating reigning World and European champions France with Zinedine Zidane and Thierry Henry in the tournament’s opening match in Seoul. The Lions of Teranga also announced themselves on the international stage, going undefeated in the group stage and defeating Sweden to become only the third African nation to reach the quarter-finals of the Men’s World Cup.

Twenty years later, Senegal came to Qatar to repeat the sensational performance of this amazing team led by current coach Aliou Cissé and forward El Hadji Diouf, who was named to the tournament’s all-star team. But the dream was snuffed out in the most gruesome way by a top-flight England team on Sunday.

The reigning African champions were dealt a serious blow on the eve of this World Cup when Bayern Munich star striker Sadio Mané was ruled out of the competition due to injury. After losing to the Netherlands in the opening game, it didn’t look like the Senegalese would stay in Qatar for long. But they quickly regrouped and bounced back with two wins against the host country and Ecuador to secure their place in the last 16, Mané’s absence being offset by five different players who scored in the group stage.

But fighting spirit and determination will only get you so far at a World Cup. In the end, the class wins. England has it in abundance; Senegal is in short supply. That made the difference on the day as England were ruthless in attack, exploiting the weaknesses of the Africans mercilessly, with the normally reliable Kalidou Koulibaly proving to be a liability.

GOAL OF THE DAY

In the 74th minute, France recaptured the ball in their own penalty area and then quickly launched a beautiful counter sequence that ended with Kylian Mbappé taking a pass from Ousmane Dembele and then firing a shot from 16 yards into the top corner of the net that left Goalkeeper Wojciech Szczęsny completely helpless back.

MOMENT OF THE DAY

It must be Polish goalkeeper Wojciech Szczęsny comforting his young son Liam after Poland were eliminated against France.

QUOTE OF THE DAY

“There is no recipe. Nobody knows the recipe; No coach knows the recipe to stop Kylian Mbappé in his current form. He hurt us today but I cheer for him because he’s a real star. I’m talking about [Lionel] Messi, [Cristiano] ronaldo, [Robert] Lewandowski. If someone takes over, I think Mbappé will be the best player [for] many years.” – Poland coach Czesław Michniewicz.

SIX PACK OF STATS

• Hugo Lloris has overtaken Lilian Thuram as the all-time leading international in France men’s history (142 appearances). He also tied Thierry Henry and Fabien Barthez for the combined most World Cup appearances Les Bleus (17).

• Kylian Mbappé has scored five goals in four games at this World Cup, surpassing his tally from the 2018 tournament (four goals in seven games).

• The French men’s side have reached the quarter-finals of three consecutive World Cups for the first time in their history.

• At 32 years and 170 days, Jordan Henderson is England’s second-oldest goalscorer at the 1958 men’s World Cup after Tom Finney (36 years and 64 days) against the Soviet Union.

• Harry Kane has now scored 11 goals for England in major tournaments (seven at the World Cup, four at the European Championships), overtaking Gary Lineker as the all-time top goalscorer for England men’s team in such competitions.

• England and France have never met in the knockout stages of a major men’s tournament (World Cup and European Championship).

Statistics courtesy of Opta

THREE STARS OF THE DAY

1) Kylian Mbappe (France): The Paris Saint-Germain striker set up France’s opener and then scored twice himself to take over as the tournament’s top scorer (five) and send his nation through to the quarter-finals.

2) Jew Bellingham (England): He collected an assist on Jordan Henderson’s opening goal and was a force in the Three Lions’ midfield, completing 85.3 percent of his passes and four tackles.

3) Ousmane Dembele (France): He provided an assist and was a constant attacking threat for France, using his speed and direct play to repeatedly force the Polish defense to retreat.

FORECAST FOR MONDAY

After surprising victories over Germany and Spain in the group stage, Japan will look to eliminate another European giant when they take on Croatia (10:00am ET). All four goals came in the second half when they were behind, so the Japanese showed great determination in Qatar. But going down against Croatia, who have a star-studded midfield led by Luka Modrić, would be ill-advised.

The other game sees Brazil take on South Korea (2pm ET). It is only the third time this South Korean side have made it to the knockout rounds in 11 World Cup appearances, while Brazil will be looking to bounce back from a disappointing defeat by Cameroon in the group stage finals.

John Molinaro is one of Canada’s leading football journalists and has been covering the game for multiple media outlets including Sportsnet, CBC Sports and Sun Media for over 20 years. He is currently the Editor-in-Chief of TFC Republic, a website devoted extensively to Toronto FC and Canadian football. TFC Republic can be found here.

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