Kick-off: 1500, 04/12/2022
Stadium: Al Thumama Stadium
World Cup holders France are hot favourites to qualify for the Qatar 2022 quarter-finals at the expense of Poland.
However, Les Bleus did concede a goal in each of their group-stage games, so the Eagles may be worth backing to grab a consolation score in defeat in Doha.
Let’s go with 5/2 for the defending champions to win and both teams to score for our first France vs Poland prediction.
France recovered from an early setback when beating Australia 4-1 in their pool opener and then edged out Denmark 2-1 thanks to a Kylian Mbappe double.
With qualification already assured, Didier Deschamps made nine changes for a 1-0 loss to Tunisia but still hung on to top spot in the table.
“We can’t tick all the boxes,” commented Deschamps. “The first objective was the most important and that was to seal our place in the round of 16.
“We were coming out of two high-intensity games. We will play four games in 12 days, we needed a breath of fresh air.
“I wasn’t underestimating the opponent, I wasn’t not taking the game seriously, I was thinking about the game that is waiting for us on Sunday.”
That match highlighted how a squad hit by several notable injuries lacks strength in depth, but big guns like Mbappe, Olivier Giroud, Ousmane Dembele and Antoine Griezmann will be back here.
Les Bleus have the attacking firepower to match any team in this tournament, but we’re still not totally convinced about their defence or a midfield missing Paul Pogba and N’Golo Kante.
France only kept one clean sheet in six Nations League fixtures and are yet to hold firm at the back in Qatar, letting in exactly one goal in six of their last nine games.
Looking at the 7/2 for the holders to win 2-1, 3-1 or 4-1 here.
Poland have been perennial underachievers at major tournaments and have reached the World Cup round of 16 for the first time since 1986.
A goalless stalemate with Mexico and a 2-0 defeat of Saudi Arabia proved enough to see them through a tricky pool.
However, the Eagles put in an abject performance when going down 2-0 to Argentina last time out.
At one stage, they were only ahead of Mexico on fair play points, but Saudi Arabia’s stoppage-time score in a 2-1 loss to El Tri settled any nerves.
Head coach Czeslaw Michniewicz said: “My heart stopped a bit when Grzegorz Krychowiak was booked, we knew it was minus three points and fair play was already taken into consideration.
“I told them to avoid stupid cards, we were doing anything to avoid any provocation, avoid talking to referees.”
It would be nothing short of criminal for Poland to also adopt such a negative approach to this contest, especially as they have Robert Lewandowski crying out for support up front.
Michniewicz could be forgiven for trying to keep things tight again early on, though, and 11/4 for Draw HT/France FT completes our France vs Poland betting tips.
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