France on fire
Mbappe continues to stamp class on World Cup, sends Les Bleus into quarters
France’s Kylian Mbappe celebrates after scoring the third goal for his side during their FIFA World Cup Round of 16 match against Poland at the Al Thumama Stadium in Doha, Qatar, yesterday. (Photo: AP)

DOHA, Qatar (AP) — It all seems so straightforward — laughable, perhaps — for Kylian Mbappé when it comes to the Fifa World Cup.

The France forward, who scored four goals when he led his country to the title four years ago as a 19-year-old phenom, put on yet another demonstration of how devastating he can be on the football field.

After it was over, Mbappé almost seemed to be chuckling as Robert Lewandowski came over to congratulate him.

Mbappé scored two goals yesterday and set up another for Olivier Giroud to give France a 3-1 victory over Poland and move the 2018 champions within three wins of successfully defending their title. He already has a tournament-best five goals in Qatar as Les Bleus have reached the quarter-finals for the third straight World Cup.

France's Kylian Mbappe (foreground) scores on Poland's Wojciech Szczesny (in goal), whose teammates Jakub Kiwior (number 14) and Kamil Glik look on during their FIFA World Cup Round of 16 match at the Al Thumama Stadium in Doha, Qatar, yesterday.(Photo: AP)

"The only objective for me is to win the World Cup," Mbappé said. "The only thing I dream is this. I came here to win this World Cup. I didn't come here to win the Golden Ball or Golden Boot. If I win it of course I'm going to be happy but that's not why I'm here. I'm here to win and I'm here to help the French national team."

Lewandowski, a two-time Fifa player of the year, scored from the penalty spot in second-half stoppage time for Poland.

France will play England for a spot in the semi-finals. The English team beat Senegal 3-0.

Mbappé scored his first goal in the 74th minute when he was left unmarked to blast in a long-range shot following a counter-attack. He added another in stoppage time when Poland goalkeeper Wojciech Szczęsny could only get a weak glove on another powerful shot from the man in the No 10 shirt.

"He can change a match in just a moment and he's always playing with such joy and we all want to share those smiles with him," France Coach Didier Deschamps said. "France needed a great Kylian Mbappé tonight and they got one."

Having also provided two assists, Mbappé has easily been the most productive player in Qatar.

Mbappé already has nine career World Cup goals and if he stays healthy, he could probably play in another three editions of football's biggest event — meaning he might approach the tournament's career scoring record held by Germany striker Miroslav Klose, who scored 16 goals over four World Cups.

"He hurt us today but I am cheering for him because he is a real star," Poland coach Czesław Michniewicz said through a translator. "I'm talking about (Lionel) Messi, (Cristiano) Ronaldo, Lewandowski. If someone is going to take over, I think Mbappé will be the player to be the best one (for) many years."

No country has repeated as World Cup champions in six decades — since Brazil achieved the feat by claiming consecutive trophies in 1958 and 1962. Italy is the only other nation to have won two straight, in 1934 and 1938.

Giroud's also scored his 52nd career international goal yesterday — breaking a tie with Thierry Henry on France's all-time scoring list.

After Mbappé leaped into Giroud's arms to celebrate, pumping his fists, Giroud held up seven fingers to the cameras — five on one hand and two on the other for "52."

It's all the more sweet for Giroud because he wasn't even supposed to be a starter on this year's squad until Ballon d'Or winner Karim Benzema was ruled out because of injury. Giroud also scored two goals in France's opening 4-1 win over Australia.

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