France squad hit by illness ahead of World Cup final as five players contract virus
- Upamecano, Rabiot absent for Morocco clash
- Coman, Varane, Konate latest to fall ill
- Tchouameni, Hernandez missed Friday session through injuries
WHAT'S HAPPENING? Dayot Upamecano and Adrien Rabiot were missing from the starting line-up in the semi-final against Morocco due to illness, with Didier Deschamps himself blaming the continued used of air-conditioning at stadiums in Qatar. However, this list has since expanded to include Kingsley Coman, Raphael Varane and Ibrahima Konate who have all contracted the same virus, the latter of whom is thought to be suffering the worst.
THE BIGGER PICTURE: Reports suggest that the rest of the camp have been encouraged to use hand sanitiser and practice social distancing to avoid further contagion. There were suggestions that the illness had been contracted during the quarter-final against England, although these claims have been baseless, with the more likely explanation being the aforementioned air-conditioning.
AND WHAT'S MORE: Regardless of the cause, the news is the worst possible preparation for Deschamps' side, who defend their world crown in less than two days' time. To make matters worse for France, it was reported that Aurelien Tchouameni and Theo Hernandez were absent from Friday's training session due to hip and knee problems, respectively.
STORY IN TWO PHOTOS:
DID YOU KNOW? Virus-stricken Konate has won 95% of his duels (21/22) in Qatar, the highest percentage of any player in the tournament (min. 10 duels).
WHAT NEXT? While rumours continue to circulate about France's selection possibilities for Sunday's blockbuster final against Argentina, a statement is expected from France later this Friday.