France, the reigning world champions, suffered a shocking defeat against Tunisia in their final group-stage encounter. Although they finished as the group winners ahead of Australia on goal difference, gaffer Didier Deschamps must find a better gameplan versus Poland when these two sides would lock horns in the FIFA World Cup Round of 16 contest.
Poland, on the other hand, were fortunate enough to progress to the knockouts in spite of a dreadful performance against Argentina. They lost 2-0 but advanced over Mexico for having a better goal difference. Les Bleus might be without an array of high-profile names due to injury woes, yet they are outright favourites to make it to the quarterfinals on Sunday afternoon.
Predicted 4-2-3-1 France Lineup To Face Poland
Steve Mandanda featured between the sticks in their dead rubber Tunisia tie. However, he is set to make way for skipper Hugo Lloris who was rested for this upcoming outing.
An ACL injury sustained against Australia has ruled Lucas Hernandez out for months. Theo, his brother, replaced him as a left fullback and the manager is expected to rely on him for the remainder of the campaign. Jules Koundé might get the nod down the right, whereas Ibrahima Konate is likely to be dropped in favour of Dayot Upamecano in the heart of the backline. Despite not being at his best, Raphael Varane remains irreplaceable for his profound experience.
France were already on the back foot when both Paul Pogba and N’Golo Kante missed the trip for fitness reasons. The pressure would be immense on Aurélien Tchouaméni and Adrien Rabiot who are now operating as the ‘double pivot’ deep down the midfield. The pair pulled the strings in the first two encounters, and their all-round ability should see Deschamps’ men winning the midfield battle at Al Thumama Stadium.
Meanwhile, all eyes would be on high up the midfield. Kylian Mbappe has already netted 3 goals in as many games and his flair and finesse down the left might keep Matty Cash on his toes all throughout the game. Antoine Griezmann is struggling in club football, but has maintained his excellence as a ‘number 10’ in the blue shirt. Ousmane Dembélé has revived his form after years of injury misfortune and his presence down the right has handed France a significant boost.
36-year-old Olivier Giroud is still going strong as he is being deployed as the ‘number 9’ following Karim Benzema’s late exclusion from the World Cup squad with a thigh strain.