The sky was blue this Saturday, when the France team put an end to the terrible curse that stuck to the coattails of the reigning world champions, and this without stopping for sixteen long years. A team crowned four years earlier will be at the rendezvous of the eighth, the Tricolors therefore hold their rank so far.
Cocorico: France composts its ticket against Denmark
“The first objective has been achieved” (Didier Deschamps), “the state of mind was very good” (Raphaël Varane), “we were consistent in our efforts” (Jules Koundé), and even a “long live France and long live the Republic ”(Antoine Griezmann) … The Blues were in heaven after validating their ticket for the round of 16!
Grave of Denmark, one of its last pet peeves, the France team offered itself a third and last match without too much pressure, Wednesday against Tunisia (4 p.m.). A reigning world champion in comfort before the knockout stage hadn’t happened in a little while. Since Brazil in 2006, to be more precise. Samba!
The number(s): 7 and 31
With his saving double against the Danes, Kylian Mbappé took place in a very closed circle: the French striker is only the second player in history to score at least 7 times (in nine matches) in the World Cup before his 24 years after the Brazilian Pelé, who had succeeded at 21 in 1962. By way of comparison, Lionel Messi, 35, scored his 8th goal against Mexico in 21 games in this competition. As for Cristiano Ronaldo, he has 8 goals in 18 games… Far from being anecdotal too, Mbappé has equaled Zinédine Zidane in the ranking of the top scorers of the France team, with his 31st goal.
Relief: Messi revives Argentina
Scorer then passer against Mexico (2-0), Lionel Messi removed a big thorn in the side of Argentina, and offered his selection his first victory in this World Cup. The Albiceleste, almost forced to win after his initial setback against Saudi Arabia, was able to count on his genius, who entered into intense joy after his pretty shot from the left. Thanks to the Pulga, Argentina, second in group C, is reviving with a view to qualifying. Everything will be decided against Poland by Robert Lewandowski, Wednesday in Doha (8 p.m.).
The disappointment: Tunisia on the edge of the abyss
Placed in the group of the French team, the Eagles of Carthage had at the start every chance of getting out of a group that was a priori affordable behind the French team. But after their encouraging inaugural draw against Denmark (0-0), Tunisia fell to Australia (0-1), and seriously compromised their chances of seeing the round of 16. Especially since it is the Blues, certainly already qualified and perhaps a little reworked, who present themselves for the last match. The Tunisian chances of hope seem very slim.
The image: Wojciech Szczesny in levitation
If the Poles are well placed in the race for the eighth, they can say a big, big thank you to Wojciech Szczesny. Put in great difficulty by the surprise team at the start of the World Cup, Hervé Renard’s Saudi Arabia – who had offered himself the scalp of Argentina on the first day – Robert Lewandowski’s partners were able to count on a immense guardian as the Saudi waves broke.
Coming out five big saves, including an exceptional double parade on a penalty badly taken by Salem Al-Dawsari just before half-time and then taken over by Mohammed Al-Burayk (45th). The Juventus Turin goalkeeper kept his partners alive. Before Lewandowski ended the suspense of his very first World Cup goal to put Poland, victorious 2-0 in the end, in position to qualify before the last day.
The sentence: “If Eden is good, Belgium can win”
When he was asked to estimate the chances at the World Cup for Belgium, which plays Morocco on Sunday (2 p.m.), Eden Hazard spoke of him… in the third person: “The more I go to chain the matches, the more I will be good. I think Belgium can win the World Cup if Eden is good. If Eden is not good, it will be more complicated. Eden in Qatar like in her garden.