France manager Didier Deschamps is at risk of being without two crucial stars of the 2022 World Cup campaign in Wednesday’s semi-final against Morocco. Illness has struck Les Bleus’ camp after their quarter-final triumph over England, with a starring duo considered ‘serious doubts’.
According to The Sun, the France camp has been struck by a bug on the eve of their clash with Morocco, leading to a significant blow to Deschamps’ plans. Dayot Upamecano and Adrien Rabiot were absent from training with separate illness-related problems.
Upamecano is suffering from a sore throat, and while Rabiot’s issue hasn’t been specified, both are seriously doubtful to feature against the African underdogs. It has led to Deschamps weighing up his options just over 24 hours before France face Morocco at the Al Bayt Stadium, the same venue in which England exited the tournament on Saturday.
Upamecano has featured in four of France’s games in Qatar, being rested for the dead-rubber 1-0 defeat to Tunisia in their third group-stage outing. But Rabiot has been ever-present this winter, playing a part in all five matches after, and Deschamps’ plans to name another unchanged line-up have potentially been thwarted.
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Rabiot has stepped up for France after the reigning champions lost N’Golo Kante and Paul Pogba through injury ahead of the tournament. Lucas Hernandez, Christopher Nkunku and Karim Benzema were named in the 26-man squad but also withdrew with tournament-ending injuries.
Despite their problems, France replaced Brazil as tournament favourites after Croatia produced a quarter-final shock to dump them out on penalties after falling behind in extra-time. They will become the first nation to retain the World Cup in 60 years – since Brazil achieved the same feat in 1962 – if they lift the illustrious gold on December 18.
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After facing Tunisia, it’s said that Ibrahima Konate and Youssef Fofana are ready to replace the pair if they can’t return to full health in time for Wednesday. Deschamps could also look at William Saliba, Eduardo Camavinga, Matteo Guendouzi and Jordan Veretout as alternative options.
Morocco became the first-ever African country to reach the World Cup semi-finals by stunning Portugal in the last round, possibly ending Cristiano Ronaldo’s hopes of adding the trophy to his incredible collection before retirement.
Walid Regragui’s side are not to be ignored after also beating Belgium and Spain on their way to the final four, and France’s last-minute injury issues may intensify the nerves.
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