By-Several France players have caught colds ahead of their World Cup final against Argentina tomorrow.
Citing the French Football Federation, France 24 reports that defenders Raphaël Varane and Ibrahima Konaté are said to be the latest to fall ill on Friday.
Varane, Konaté and striker Kingsley Coman were all sidelined as Les Bleus were preparing to take on Lionel Messi’s Argentina.
The development sparked further fears of a mystery virus in the French camp after two players – midfielder Adrien Rabiot and defender Dayot Upamecano – were ruled out of the semi-final win over Morocco.
Rabiot and Upamecano both returned to training on Friday. Manager Didier Deschamps refused to panic after Wednesday’s win and said they were being careful to ensure the illness did not spread. France 24’s Selina Sykes reported from Doha:
These are clearly not ideal circumstances, with so little time ahead of that big final against Argentina on Sunday. If there is a bit of a reassuring element to this so-called virus that is spreading within the French camp, it is that it only seems to last a few days.
France 24 sports journalist Romain Houeix said a lot of French journalists are in bad shape adding:
People have been coughing and feeling unwell for a week. We can’t say what it is; we’re working 15-hour days and we don’t have time to take tests.
It’s my theory that those players have Covid. In sport they tend to talk about sore throats when it’s possibly Covid and they haven’t been tested. Another theory is that it’s ‘camel flu’, a local virus.
Should Konaté and Varane be out for the final, however, Deschamps would face a difficult selection decision, as he would be without two of his top three defenders.