Image for Greg Lea Greg Lea - December 2, 2022

France vs Poland: Les Bleus Should Saunter Through

  • France lost to Tunisia on matchday three but still finished as the winners of Group D

  • Poland squeezed through as Group C runners-up, edging out Mexico on goal difference

  • France are unlikely to have too much trouble against mediocre opposition on Sunday

France vs Poland Odds

The odds for France vs Poland have been taken from the FanDuel sportsbook, which is giving punters a generous $1000 no-sweat first bet right now.

To Win to Nil

Odds

France

+108

BET HERE

Poland

+1360

BET HERE

France vs Poland Pick

Poland were a little fortunate to reach the last 16 and they will struggle to cope with the champions’ frontline.

Back France to score in both halves. (+108)

France vs Poland Predictions

France vs Poland Predictions

France Lost Their Last Match but That Does Not Really Matter

France went into World Cup 2022 in a curious position. The defending champions found themselves as one of the leading contenders to win the tournament with fans and the best online sportsbooks alike, and simultaneously as many people’s tip to the big underachievers in Qatar.

We do not know yet how far Didier Deschamps’s side will go, but it is safe to say that the latter prediction has not come to pass (Germany take that unwanted mantle for crashing out before the knockout stage for the second edition in a row). 

In fact, France breezed through the group stage with a minimum of fuss: they had essentially wrapped up top spot in Group D before their third game courtesy of back-to-back victories over Australia and Denmark.

That third match ended in defeat, as Tunisia registered a famous 1-0 triumph over les Bleus. Yet the result did not matter since France went through in the first place anyway. And with their place in the round of 16 already assured, Deschamps was able to rest numerous key players for the clash with Tunisia. That boosts France’s chances of success this weekend.

One of the reasons France were tipped to struggle in some quarters was their poor recent form in the Nations League. Another was the fact that every other defending champion in the 21st century had crashed out in the group stage, with the exception of Brazil in 2006. Injuries to important players in the run-up to the big kick-off seemed to further harm their prospects.

Deschamps is the most experienced international manager at this tournament, though, and he has handled it well so far. France now look well positioned to reach the quarter-finals for the third consecutive World Cup under their current boss.

Poland Qualified From Group C by the Narrowest Of Margins 

Poland squeezed through Group C in the end, but they were made to sweat until the very last moment. At one point Czesław Michniewicz’s men looked set to advance to the last 16 because they had collected fewer yellow cards than Mexico, although another goal for El Tri against Saudi Arabia or for Argentina against themselves would have changed everything.

Instead, the Saudis stuck late in their meeting with the Mexicans, securing Poland’s passage to the knockout phase on goal difference. It was yet another example of how fine the margins often are in soccer, and Poland could count themselves a little fortunate to have gotten out of the group.

In their first game, a dull goalless draw with Mexico, Poland fashioned virtually no opportunities to score except a second-half penalty. They then beat Saudi Arabia 2-0, somehow keeping a clean sheet against a team that more than matched them. On matchday three a 2-0 defeat flattered Poland, who were comprehensively outplayed by Argentina.

Their results in Group C might have been broadly acceptable but the performances were hugely underwhelming. There was little invention or craft to Poland’s play. They continually hit the ball long to Robert Lewandowski, regularly bypassing the midfield and demonstrating little imagination in possession. 

This unattractive style did not even produce a particularly solid backline. Poland may have kept two clean sheets but they gave up 5.9 expected goals; at the time of writing, only two teams in the entire group stage (Saudi Arabia and Costa Rica) had conceded better chances. On the basis of Poland’s displays up to now, France do not have too much to fear in Al Wakrah.

France Should Make Light Work of Poland in Sunday Showdown

That is not to say les Bleus should take their eye off the ball. Supporters might already be looking ahead to a possible quarter-final clash with England, but the players must not fall into that trap. Not much is expected of Poland here, but no one anticipated Japan beating Germany and Spain, or Saudi Arabia overcoming Argentina.

Still, if France play to their potential it is hard to see how Poland will be able to live with them. It is not just that Deschamps’ side contains more skill and talent than Michniewicz’s, but France have the physical edge too. Poland are not particularly speedy and they will struggle to contain the likes of Kylian Mbappe and Ousmane Dembele here.

Events on Wednesday, when Poland were continually pulled apart by Argentina, indicate they will find it hard to contain and frustrate France. At the other end, a moment of magic from Lewandowski is probably their best chance of finding the back of the net.

The problem is, France will defend with a high line to force the Barcelona striker away from goal, and it is doubtful whether Poland will be able to keep possession for long enough to gradually progress up the pitch and get the ball to their star man in dangerous areas.

France did not keep a clean sheet in the group stage but we reckon they have a good chance of breaking that particular duck here. Back the holders to win this last-16 tie without conceding.

How to Watch France vs Poland

  • Teams: France vs Poland

  • Location: Al Janoub Stadium, Al Wakrah, Qatar

  • Time: Sunday, 4 December 2022, 10:00 AM EST

  • How to Watch: Fox Sports, Telemundo, fuboTV

Image for Greg Lea

AUTHOR

Greg Lea

645 Articles

Greg Lea is a freelance soccer journalist from London. He is the former editor of The Set Pieces, and has contributed to the Guardian, FourFourTwo, and ESPN. A Crystal Palace fan, he is a long-time subscriber to the belief that it's the taking part that counts. Email: [email protected]

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