Defending champions, France, have been affected by a virus that could cause the team’s starting centre-back duo to miss the 2022 FIFA World Cup final against Argentina on Sunday.
France coach, Didier Deschamp, says they are focusing on becoming the first country to defend the World Cup since Brazil 60 years ago, despite the setback.
Raphael Varane shows mild signs of the virus, and fellow defender, Ibrahima Konate, has not left his room since feeling ill according to the reports.
The two defenders did not report for training, two days before the final, while Theo Hernandez, Aurelien Tchoumeni, Dayot Upamecano and Adrien Rabiot are doubtful starters.
France coach, Didier Deschamps, claimed the team was taking measures to prevent the virus from spreading.
“We try to take the maximum precautions, to deal with it, without going overboard. It is obviously a situation. If it could not exist it would be better, but we manage as best we can with the medical staff of course,” says Deschamps.
France will need to contain Argentina star player, Lionel Messi, who has scored five goals and three assists so far. He has received four man of the match awards, but France captain, Hugo Lloris, says they will focus on the whole team.
“I believe the event is too massive just being focused on one player. It’s a final between two big nations of football, between Argentina and France. Obviously when you face that type of player you need a special focus on him but it’s not only about him you know.”
Meanwhile, Argentina’s little genius, Lionel Messi, has saved the potentially most magical script for his last World Cup, with one line left to write.
With immense pressure on him to match the late great Diego Maradona and send the trophy back to Argentina, Messi has lit up the Qatar tournament with dazzling performances.
From Argentina’s opening game until their semi-final win over Croatia, Messi (35), near the end of his career at his 5th World Cup, has been one of the tournament’s best players so far.
Messi has been smashing so many records too. He beat Maradona’s tally of World Cup goals and appearances for Argentina. And on Sunday, he will jump ahead of Lothar Matthaeus’ joint record 25-match appearances at the tournament. –Reporting by Vincent Sistula