Poland's head coach Czeslaw Michniewicz looks across ar France's Kylian Mbappe during the World Cup round of 16 soccer match between France and Poland, at the Al Thumama Stadium in Doha, Qatar, Dec 4, 2022. (NATACHA PISARENKO / AP)
DOHA - Poland coach Czeslaw Michniewicz admitted his team had no answer to Kylian Mbappe after the Paris Saint-Germain forward guided France to a 3-1 victory in the FIFA World Cup round of 16 on Sunday.
Mbappe scored two second-half goals and provided the pass for Olivier Giroud's opener as France advanced to the quarterfinals.
"There is no recipe to stop Mbappe in the form that he's in now," Michniewicz told a news conference.
Poland coach Czeslaw Michniewicz was disappointed at bowing out of the tournament but said Poland should be proud of reaching knockout stage for the first time since 1986
"He's a fantastic player and he harmed us today. But I'm cheering for him. He's a real star. Now we have (Lionel) Messi, (Cristiano) Ronaldo and (Robert) Lewandowski but somebody is going to take over from them and I think that Mbappe will be that player in the coming years."
Michniewicz was disappointed at bowing out of the tournament but said Poland should be proud of reaching knockout stage for the first time since 1986.
"We are sad and disappointed," he said. "We had our chances in the first half and if we had scored first maybe it would have been different."
"But as time goes on, the perspective might change. After a few weeks or months we'll be able to say that we achieved something that Poland wasn't able to do for 36 years."
Michniewicz refused to be drawn on whether he will continue in charge of the team, saying it was not the time to discuss his future.
He had words of support for 34-year-old striker Robert Lewandowski, who scored just one goal from open play in the tournament, amid speculation that he could have played his last World Cup game.
"As a coach I shouldn't talk about the future of Robert Lewandowski," he said. "He should decide. I think he should be the captain for years to come. Let's see if he plays in the next World Cup.
"The expectations on him are huge, as they are for Messi and Ronaldo. His situation (in the national team) is difficult because of the style we play. It's different to the teams like Portugal and France who pass the ball closer to the penalty area."
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