Can the French go to Qatar? | sports

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Can the French go to Qatar?

FReims head to Qatar as World Cup holders and with a new Ballon d’Or winner in their ranks, so everything should be rosy for coach Didier Deschamps.

But injuries, recent results and matters off the field have cast doubt on the prospects of becoming the first team to successfully defend the World Cup title since Brazil in 1962.

After the ups and downs of last year, when Didier Deschampseau crashed out of the European Championship on penalties to Switzerland in the Round of 16 and then bounced back to win the UEFA Nations League, there isn’t much to shout about in 2022. For Les Bleus.

They’ve won just one of their last six matches, a streak that included two defeats to Denmark, one of their next World Cup opponents.

France weren’t the only major European team to struggle in these Home Nations League fixtures, but of greater concern is the fact that the two midfield mainstays from Russia’s triumphant 2018 campaign will not be in the squad this time around.

Chelsea’s NĀ“Golo Kante is out with a hamstring injury that required surgery, and earlier this week it was confirmed that Paul Pogba will also not play a part.

The Juventus playmaker was holding out hope he could recover from a knee injury in time to feature in the squad Deschamps will announce next week.

But he has not played for his club since signing from Manchester United at the end of the season and this week admitted defeat in his battle to be fit for Qatar.

Captain Hugo Lloris admitted, “There was still some hope for his return. He is an important player for the team. He will be sorely missed.”

Between them they have made 144 caps for their country and their absence leaves a huge hole in the middle of the park.

Can the French go to Qatar?

Real Madrid’s Aurelien Chouamini and Juventus’ Adrien Rabiot appear to be the favorites to fill that gap, while Deschamps will hope injuries elsewhere such as those suffered by center back Raphael Varane will recover in time.

Lloris added, “When the competition starts, you have to trust all the players that have been called up. Then it’s up to those players to create synergies and make us strong as a team.”

Pogba’s absence is perhaps a blessing, especially given his personal issues – he was also involved in an alleged extortion plot involving his brother that led to Matias Pogba being charged along with four other people.

Pogba said he was blackmailed for 13 million euros ($12.9 million) and told investigators his blackmailers wanted to discredit him by claiming he asked a witch doctor to cast a spell on Kylian Mbappe.

The dispute between Mbappe and the French Football Federation also overshadowed the last meeting of the French national team over image rights, which threatens to harm the morale of the team.

On top of that, the FA’s 80-year-old veteran football chairman, Noel Le Graet, has been in the line of fire ever since So Foot magazine published accusations by some former employees of mistreatment during their time at the FA.

The French government also recently announced that it has begun the process of auditing the Union’s accounts.

“It’s not the most peaceful atmosphere I’ve known,” Deschamps admitted a few weeks ago.

But now his focus is solely on football, and for all their problems, France still have a fearsome side.

Benzema, who will turn 35 the day after the final, is in the form of his life and presence means France may not need Olivier Giroud even if he is also doing well for AC Milan.

Antoine Griezmann, Ousmane Dembele and Kingsley Coman are world-class strikers and Christopher Nkunku was Bundesliga Player of the Year last season.

Then there’s Mbappe, who in 2018 became the first teenager to score in a World Cup final since Pele.

Now that his 24th birthday is approaching, the Paris Saint-Germain star may be relieved to be out of the spotlight at his club for a few weeks after endless speculation about his future.

If Mbappe and Benzema click together, it could potentially spell trouble for France’s opponents. –AFP


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