Poland midfielder Piotr Zielinski has praised France duo Theo Hernandez and Kylian Mbappe ahead of the two teams’ 2022 FIFA World Cup clash.
The Polish team will take on the reigning champions in the Round of 16 on December 4 after finishing second in Group C with four points. They qualified on virtue of a better goal difference than Mexico. Les Bleus, meanwhile, won Group D with six points, despite losing their final match 1-0 against Tunisia.
Hernandez and Mbappe were among the brightest players for Didier Deschamps’ men in their first two matches. This has led Zielinski to name the duo while previewing the meeting between the two teams.
The S.S.C. Napoli midfielder said (via BeFootball on Twitter):
“Théo Hernandez is a machine. He runs non-stop, it looks like a car. The left side of France with him and Mbappé, it really sets fire. We will suffer, but we will also try to make them suffer.”
Piotr Zelinski : “Théo Hernandez est une machine. Il court sans arrêt, on dirait une voiture. Le côté gauche de la France avec lui et Mbappé, ça met vraiment le feu. On va souffrir, mais on va aussi essayer de les faire souffrir.”
PSG superstar Mbappe notably scored in Les Bleus‘ opening game at the 2022 FIFA World Cup, helping them record a 4-1 win over Group D runners-up Australia. He then netted a brace to hand his team a 2-1 win over Denmark.
Theo Hernandez was initially behind his brother Lucas in the pecking order. However, an ACL injury to the latter saw him take over the left side of France’s four-man defense in the first half of their win over Australia.
Having entered the pitch in the 13th minute, Hernandez registered an assist just 14 minutes later against the Socceroos. The AC Milan star followed it up by linking up with Mbappe for the opening goal in their match against Denmark.
While Mbappe came off the bench against Tunisia on November 30, Hernandez was an unused substitute in the 1-0 defeat.
Meanwhile, Zielinski has been one of Poland’s better players at the ongoing FIFA World Cup. He netted one of their two group-stage goals during their 2-0 win over Saudi Arabia.
France and Poland have met just once previously in a FIFA World Cup
Recent meetings between France and Poland have been scarce in number. They have only met twice in the last 40 years and the first of those was in the 1982 FIFA World Cup.
The two teams clashed in the third-place playoff on that occasion. Rene Girard gave Les Bleus the lead before Andrzej Szarmach, Stefan Majewski and Janusz Kupcewicz turned the tie on its head for Poland. Alain Couriol gave the French side some hope with a 72nd-minute strike, but it wasn’t enough.
The other meeting between France and Poland was an international friendly back in June 2011. The 2018 FIFA World Cup champions won on that occasion courtesy of Tomasz Jodlowiec’s first-half own goal.
POLAND vs. FRANCE and AUSTRALIA vs. ARGENTINA in the Round of 16 🍿
Only Hugo Lloris and Karim Benzema from Les Bleus’ current team were in their squad for that match over 11 years ago. Both were unused substitutes. Meanwhile, Wojciech Szczesny and Robert Lewandowski both started for Poland, while Kamil Glik and Grzegorz Krychowiak were named on the bench.
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