AN INJURY crisis has hit the French squad – leaving the country without several key stars.
Unfortunately for all the nations looking to prise the World Cup from their grip, France has incredible strength in depth.
Their squad has such a depth that it can be argued that of the players who are not available, they are good enough as a squad themselves to retain the World Cup.
Among the most notable absences is that of Tottenham goalkeeper Hugo Lloris.
Yesterday he became the latest to withdraw from the injury-hit French squad due to a thigh strain.
It has left Tottenham sweating on his fitness ahead of the huge North London derby directly after the international break.
France’s injuries are also numerous enough to fill out an entire back line.
Following AC Milan’s dramatic defeat to Napoli on Sunday, Theo Hernandez had been set to depart the San Siro for international duty.
But injury gave him no choice but to pull out of the squad.
Replacing him was Aston Villa‘s Lucas Digne, but then the 29-year-old fell victim to an ankle issue a day after his call-up.
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At the heart of the defence of France’s injured defence would be the impressive pairing of Liverpool’s Ibrahima Konate and Presnel Kimpembe.
Konate has yet to appear for the Reds this season after injury during pre-season kept him out.
Meanwhile Kimpembe was sidelined with a hamstring issue following PSG’s 1-0 win over Brest earlier this month.
In midfield Paul Pogba could miss the World Cup altogether after a knee issue blighted his return to Juventus.
The ex-Manchester United star will reportedly be out for up to two months.
Also facing a fight for fitness is N’Golo Kante. He is out of this squad and is reportedly still a few weeks away from returning for Chelsea.
Joining Pogba and Kante would be Boubacar Kamara.
He was forced to withdraw from Didier Deschamps’ squad earlier this week after his encouraging start to life at Villa Park following his transfer.
Up front would be the imposing figure of Karim Benzema, the man who almost single-handedly dragged Real Madrid to the Champions League last season.
Real Madrid have had to live without his particular set of skills in the last three games while Deschamps will have to look for alternatives ahead of their two Nations League games.
On the flanks of the injured 11 would be Kingsley Coman, who scored the winning goal in the 2020 Champions League final.
And tucked in more narrowly on the other side would be Juventus’ Adrien Rabiot, who was close to a big money move to Old Trafford in the summer.
France face Austria at home on Thursday before travelling to Denmark on Sunday.