FIFA Men's World Cup
France at full strength for World Cup final following flu scare
FIFA Men's World Cup

France at full strength for World Cup final following flu scare

Updated Dec. 17, 2022 2:07 p.m. ET

DOHA, Qatar — All 24 players on France’s roster will be available when Les Blues defend their World Cup title Sunday against Lionel Messi and Argentina (coverage begins at 9 a.m. ET, FOX and the FOX Sports app), according to a report from FOX Sports’ Jenny Taft.

Taft attended France’s final training session on Saturday evening local time. Every remaining player on coach Didier Deschamps roster participated in the practice, and she was told that they are all able to play in the final.

Two regulars, midfielder Adrien Rabiot and defender Dayot Upamecano, didn’t feature in Wednesday’s semifinal win over Morocco after falling ill with what the team said was flu-like symptoms earlier in the week; Rabiot was too sick to leave the team’s hotel. Winger Kingsley Coman also had a fever last week, Deschamps confirmed.  Central defenders Ibrahima Konaté and Raphaël Varane were also reportedly under the weather in recent days.


Varane has started all six games for France. Rabiot and Coman have appeared in five, while Konaté and Upamecano were in the lineup for four. Asked for an update during Saturday’s pre-match press conference, Deschamps kept his cards hidden.

"I don't want to go into the details," Deschamps said. "I know it's a subject that is of interest to you [in the media]. And I fully understand that. But we're doing our best to take precautions and adapt as necessary. We tried to live with it without getting too carried away.

"Of course, we would’ve prepared prefer not to have to face this difficulty," he added. "But we're managing it as well as we can with our medical staff."

France started Qatar 2022 with the maximum 26 players but lost striker Karim Benzema and defender Lucas Hernandez to injury after arriving in Doha, the Qatari capital.

Les Bleus won the 2018 World Cup, beating Croatia 4-2 in the final. They are the first team to reach the championship match at back-to-back tournaments since Brazil did it two decades ago. With a win over the Albliceleste on Sunday, France would become just the third nation ever to win consecutive World Cups, and the first in 60 years.

Pelé led Brazil to the 1958 and 1962 titles. Italy was the first to accomplish the feat, in 1934 and 1938. Deschamps would become just the second men’s coach and third overall to win two World Cups in a row, joining Italy’s Vittorio Pozzo and former United States women’s national team boss Jill Ellis, who led the Americans to victory at the 2015 and 2019 World Cups.

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Doug McIntyre is a soccer writer for FOX Sports. Before joining FOX Sports in 2021, he was a staff writer with ESPN and Yahoo Sports and he has covered United States men’s and women’s national teams at multiple FIFA World Cups. Follow him on Twitter @ByDougMcIntyre.


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