Orphan of its world champion pair N’Golo Kanté-Paul Pogba, the France team prays that the infirmary does not fill up more, nine days from the announcement of the players selected by Didier Deschamps, on November 9. Several senior players of the Blues are also weakened by injuries but hope to be on time for the start of the World Cup in Qatar on November 20.
Pogba and Kanté packages, the middle of the Blues decimated
They are for the moment, Wednesday November 1, the only two Blues packages for the World Cup-2022.
Chelsea midfielder N’Golo Kanté has undergone hamstring surgery. He is therefore unavailable for four months, his club announced on October 19. Selected 53 times with the Blues since 2016, the French midfield player will be missed by the French team on and off the pitch.
“I’m sad for him. He’s disappointed. He’s had physical problems for the past two seasons. He relapsed after a muscle injury,” said Didier Deschamps after Kanté’s package was formalized. “Not having ‘NG’ is one less force, due to his energy, his experience. Humanly, he is such an endearing little man, who always has a smile. (…) We will miss him “.
Paul Pogba was added, Monday, October 31, to this list of players forfeited for international competition in Qatar. Like N’Golo Kanté, the Juventus Turin player is a key player for the Blues in the midfield – he has made 91 caps with the Blues since 2013.
The 2018 world champion lost his race against the clock. Operated on a meniscus in early September, he had resumed collective training with his club in recent days. But a new physical glitch on Sunday delayed his recovery, making it impossible to be selected for the list to be announced on November 9 by coach Didier Deschamps.
And even if he had been on time to play again, Paul Pogba would not necessarily have met the requirements of the coach of the Blues – who not only wants players “cured” but with an “athletic condition”. The French midfielder has not played a single official match since April.
Varane and Maignan engaged in a time trial
The tears of Raphaël Varane, released injured in a thigh on October 22, did not bode well for the defense of the Blues, far from being reassuring in recent months.
But the Manchester United player wants to believe it: “I feel much better,” he said on Instagram on Sunday. The defender will articulate his recovery program between England and the Clairefontaine federal training center. But he will not play again in an official match before Qatar…
The situation is similar for the Blues’ second goalkeeper, Mike Maignan, who relapsed from a calf injury. But “the door remains open,” assured Didier Deschamps to AFP on Tuesday, about the Manchester United defender and the AC Milan goalkeeper. “The only thing that is certain is that I will not take a player who is not able to play at the start of the competition. Afterwards, it is on a case-by-case basis”
A time announced forfeit for the World Cup due to a knee injury, midfielder Boubacar Kamara is approaching a return to collective training. But he has come a long way, like Anthony Martial, who demoted in the hierarchy and suffered from his back. The Manchester United striker returned to collective training on Monday.
Forms to watch: Benzema, Lucas Hernandez, Kimpembe…
Absent in September for the matches against Austria and Denmark, the Ballon d’Or Karim Benzema is not 100%. He has just missed Real Madrid’s last three matches for a thigh problem. “He passed examinations, which showed that he has no physical problem. But we must take into account the feelings of the player”, explained his trainer Carlo Ancelotti on Saturday.
Another part of the Blues on the flank, Lucas Hernandez sees the end of the tunnel. He returned to collective training on Monday with Bayern Munich after seven weeks out with an adductor injury.
Parisian defender Presnel Kimpembe withdrew Monday, October 31 for the Champions League match Juventus Turin-PSG. His length of unavailability was not specified, but PSG was rather reassuring: “Following a blow, Presnel Kimpembe has discomfort in the right Achilles tendon and will remain in care at the training center”, assures the Parisian club. The one who plays in central defense for the Blues had returned in recent days after seven weeks of absence – due to a muscle injury to a thigh.
Other Blues remain fragile, even if their participation is not compromised at this stage. For Jules Koundé, caution is in order after being injured in September due to muscle “overload” in one thigh. The Catalan is saved for Barcelona’s trip to Pilsen in the Champions League on Tuesday.
His friend from Real Madrid, Aurélien Tchouaméni, for his part was preserved this weekend to “not risk an unnecessary injury”.
The good news: Theo Hernandez, Rabiot, Lloris…
Of the fifteen wounded at the September rally, many have found their way back to the field.
Hit in the thigh at the start of the school year, Theo Hernandez has been in a string of tenures with AC Milan since October 8, like Adrien Rabiot with Juventus Turin, after a recalcitrant muscle injury. Victim of a muscle tear in a thigh, Kingsley Coman resumed cautiously with Bayern Munich, rarely playing more than one half.
As for captain Hugo Lloris, package in September for the League of Nations, he is fully recovered.
Defender Lucas Digne has just returned from ankle swelling. He played 20 minutes this weekend. Another candidate in defense, Ibrahima Konaté (Liverpool) chained two injuries but returned to the group for two games, without coming into play.
As for Steve Mandanda, who can still hope for a summons if Mike Maignan withdraws, he held his rank on Sunday with Rennes, after experiencing a small physical alert Thursday in the Europa League.