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France vs Poland: Holders vs Pretenders, who will take the glory?

Defending champions France will continue the quest to defend their title when they take on Poland in the round of 16 on Sunday.

France vs Poland

Les Bleus are looking to bounce back from that shock defeat to Tunisia in their final game of the group stage.

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The Carthage Eagles proved to be a difficult side to break down for the much-changed champions, who rested some of their key players in the 1-0 defeat.

Despite the loss, France had already booked their place in the last 16 thanks to two wins in their opening two matches in Qatar.

Didier Deschamps' men became the first holders to successfully make it out of the group stages since 1994 and will be hoping to go a step further when they lock horns with Poland.

Poland's The White Reds also made a bit of history after sneaking into the knockout stage on the last day of the group stage.

Poland lost their final game 2-0 to Argentina on Thursday but still made it to the round of 16 based on a superior difference over Mexico, who registered a win over a stubborn Saudi Arabia side.

With the ticket to the knockout stage secured, the White Reds have reached this stage of the competition for the first time since 1986.

Up next for Robert Lewandowski and his teammates is a crucial battle against champions, France, who have reached this stage at the last three World Cup editions.

These two sides are familiar foes having faced each other 16 times in all competitions, with France having the better record.

Ahead of what will be the 17th meeting between them, Les Bleus have won eight of the previous 16 meetings compared to three for Poland.

The last five meetings between these two have seen a total of just two wins, four goals scored, two goalless affairs and a 1-1 draw.

However, two of the wins in that run have been in favour of France, with the last one a 1-0 win back in 2011.

While France has been wrecked by injuries before and during Qatar 2022, the Champions have no more injury worries heading into this clash with Poland, who also has a fully fit squad to choose from.

France predicted XI: Lloris; Pavard, Varane, Kounde, Hernandez; Tchoumeni, Rabiot; Dembele, Griezmann, Mbappe; Giroud

Poland predicted XI: Szczesny; Cash, Glik, Kiwior, Bereszynski; Zielinski, Bielik, Krychowiak, Frankowski, Lewandowski, Swiderski

France is a different opposition when the likes of Kylian Mbappe, Antoine Griezmann and Oliver Giroud are on the pitch.

All three started on the bench in the last game, with the former two coming on in the second half to almost snatch a point.

So, with all three set to start, having rested, this might be a game France can and should win.

Unbeaten in the last seven games against the White-Reds, I don't see Poland causing many problems here even though any team that has Robert Lewandowski could score at any time.

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