Virus hits French camp ahead of grand finale

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France players attend a training session in Doha Friday AFP

Doha – France’s World Cup final preparations were rocked as three more players were forced to miss training with cold-like symptoms Friday just two days before their showdown with Argentina.

Raphael Varane, Ibrahima Konate and Kingsley Coman were all sidelined as Les Bleus prepare to take on Lionel Messi and Argentina in Sunday’s final at Doha’s Lusail Stadium.

The trio of absentees sparked further fears of a mystery virus in the French camp after two players – Adrien Rabiot and Dayot Upamecano – were ruled out of the semi-final win over Morocco.

Rabiot and Upamecano both returned to training Friday.

Coman, the Bayern Munich winger, had already been forced to miss a training session Thursday because of a “light viral syndrome”, the French Football Federation said.

France forward Randal Kolo Muani sought to play down the illnesses Friday.

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“There is little bit of flu going around but nothing serious,” he said.

Earlier this week, France coach Didier Deschamps suggested frigid air conditioning might be to blame for the illnesses in the French squad.

“The air conditioning is on all the time and so we have had a few cases of flu-like symptoms but we will try to avoid it spreading,” Deschamps said.

“The players put in so much effort on the pitch and so their immune systems suffer. Your body is weakened and you are more prone to getting infected.”

France are aiming to become the first team to win back-to-back World Cups since Brazil achieved the feat in 1962.

Anticipation for the showdown between the European and South American heavyweights is reaching fever pitch, with the cheapest tickets on the secondary market changing hands for more than $4,000.

 

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