France coach Didier Deschamps was sweating on the health of a number of key gamers on Saturday as his group battled a thriller virus on the eve of the World Cup remaining in opposition to Argentina.
Croatia beat Morocco 2-1 within the third-place playoff, paving the best way for the showdown 24 hours later.
As reigning champions France put together to face Lionel Messi and Argentina at Doha’s Lusail Stadium, they’re struggling to include a viral outbreak that’s believed to have affected 5 gamers up to now.
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Central defenders Raphael Varane and Ibrahima Konate, and winger Kingsley Coman had been the most recent gamers to be laid low by the sickness, and had been compelled to overlook a coaching session on Friday.
That got here two days after Adrien Rabiot and Dayot Upamecano had been dominated out of Wednesday’s semi-final victory over Morocco.
Players, workers and sources near the French squad have spoken of a variety of signs affecting the group in current days together with fever, abdomen ache and complications.
A thriller virus has swept by means of the France nationwide group (Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images)Source: FOX SPORTS
“We try to take as many precautions as doable, to adapt as obligatory and get on with it,” Deschamps mentioned at a press convention.
“Obviously it might be higher if this wasn’t occurring however we’re dealing with it in addition to doable with our medical workers.”
There was a extra encouraging bulletin from the French camp later Saturday in spite of everything 24 members of Deschamps’ squad took to the sphere firstly of a remaining group coaching session.
It was not clear if all gamers performed a full half within the session, nevertheless, which was solely open to the media for the primary quarter-hour.
The virus scare threatens to derail France’s bid to grow to be the primary group to win back-to-back World Cups since Brazil achieved the feat in 1962.
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Croatia, defeated by Argentina within the semi-finals, confirmed their class by beating Morocco in an entertaining third-place playoff on Saturday that was determined by Mislav Orsic’s successful purpose.
Josko Gvardiol, one of many stars of the event in Qatar, headed Croatia into the lead within the seventh minute on the Khalifa International Stadium however Achraf Dari introduced Morocco stage instantly.
Orsic struck a terrific curling shot late within the first half to make sure 2018 runners-up Croatia took house the bronze medal, the eleventh World Cup in a row a European group has completed third.
“It’s a bronze medal however for us it’s like a gold medal,” Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic mentioned.
Morocco coach Walid Regragui, who led an African group to the semi-finals of a World Cup for the primary time, predicted a group from the continent will win it within the subsequent “15-20 years”.
The subsequent World Cup shall be expanded to 48 groups and Africa could have 9 slots, up from 5 at current.
“With 9 individuals, we’re going to study. In 15, 20 years, I’m certain an African group will win the World Cup as a result of we’ll have realized,” mentioned Regragui.
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Attention now shifts totally to Sunday, when Paris Saint-Germain celebrity Messi is seeking to cap his glittering profession with the one main title that has eluded him.
France’s problem shall be spearheaded by Messi’s PSG teammate Kylian Mbappe, who at 23 might grow to be the youngest participant to win two World Cups since Pele achieved the feat on the age of 21.
At least 40,000 Argentinians are estimated to be in Doha, many carrying Messi’s quantity 10 shirt within the streets.
“It’s like we’re enjoying at house,” Argentina goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez mentioned on Saturday.
“We really feel it earlier than the match, through the match. It’s like enjoying in Argentina. That’s a fantastic benefit.” Martinez, one of many heroes of Argentina’s run to the ultimate after his penalty-saving exploits in a quarter-final victory over the Netherlands, says the South American champions are unfazed at being portrayed as underdogs for the ultimate.
“We all the time like to listen to that the opponent is the favorite as a result of we don’t really feel superior or inferior to them,” Martinez mentioned.
“People say the favourites are France. But we have now the best participant of all time,” Martinez mentioned.
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