France rocked by illness to Konate and Varane a few days before final with Argentina

Raphael Varane France
Raphael Varane France

Ibrahima Konate and Raphael Varane have become the latest members of the France national team to catch a virus sweeping through the defending World Cup champions’ squad ahead of Sunday’s final with Argentina.

Liverpool’s Konate and Manchester United’s Varane were the central defence partners for France in their 2-0 win over Morocco in the semifinals.

However, both players are reportedly doubtful for the final after falling ill two days before the final on Sunday.

According to Sportsmail, Konate and Varane woke up with mild cold and flu symptoms on Friday morning. As a result, they had to be isolated and placed under watchful eyes to ascertain their availability for the Argentina match.

Les Bleus have attributed the flu to the air-conditioning used in the stadiums in Qatar. They are not the only nation to complain about the cooling system in Qatar, with Brazil’s Anthony, another player, to have complained about the negative impact of the air-conditioning.

The two defenders are not the first members of the French team to be taken down by the flu. Bayern Munich defender Dayot Upamecano, and Juventus midfielder Adrien Rabiot, were both ill earlier this week and missed the semifinal. Winger Kingsley Coman has also been sick.

France manager Didier Deschamps explained the situation on Thursday, telling reporters: “Coman had a fever this morning. 

“We have had a few cases of flu-like symptoms. We should be careful so that it does not spread. 

“The players have put in a great effort on the pitch, and obviously, their immune systems have suffered.

“Dayot Upamecano felt bad right after the game against England. It happens when you exert yourself so much you are more prone to getting these viruses. We’re taking all the necessary precautions.”

Eintracht Frankfurt striker Randal Kolo Muani, who scored France’s second goal in their win over Morocco, said on Friday: “There’s a little flu that’s been spreading but nothing serious. They’ll be well soon and be ready for Sunday.’

The player also revealed that the players who fell ill had been isolated.

“Those who are sick stay in their room. They’re being taken care of by the doctors, and we’ve been enforcing social distancing. We’re very strict about it,” he said.

Forward Ousmane Dembele said: “We’re not scared of that virus. Dayot and Adrien got a bit of a stomachache. I made them a ginger and honey tea, and then they felt better. I hope everyone will be ready for the final.

“Dayot got better, and I think everyone will be ready. We’ve been taking precautions. The first day, Dayot stayed in his room, and we brought him food, and he was back with everyone the next day.”

Deschamps now faces an anxious wait to see whether either defender will recover in time, with the final just a day away.

Should the duo be ruled out, Upamecano could be rushed back in, while Arsenal’s William Saliba would be another option.

Jules Kounde, who has featured at right back in Qatar, could also move inside, with Benjamin Pavard or Axel Disasi covering at full-back.