France boss discusses virus fears ahead of World Cup final
Several members of the French squad have become unwell in recent days
France coach Didier Deschamps says that his team are taking the necessary precautions to limit the impact of an infectious virus, amid concerns it could spread through his squad ahead of Sunday’s World Cup final against Argentina.
Les Bleus secured passage to their second World Cup final in succession with a 2-0 win against Morocco on Wednesday, but two players – Adrien Rabiot and Dayot Upamecano – were unavailable for selection in the starting lineup in the Al Bayt Stadium after complaining of ill health.
France remain confident that both players will be available for Sunday’s showpiece fixture, although Deschamps said that the pair had been kept in isolation from the rest of the squad.
Upamecano recovered to be named on the substitutes’ bench against Morocco, while Rabiot remained confined to his room in the team hotel.
Another player, Kingsley Coman, was described as feeling “feverish” this week while the specific virus remains unknown.
Several people associated with the World Cup have reported that they contracted Middle East respiratory syndrome, a sickness prevalent in Qatar which can incite flu-like symptoms.
“In Doha, temperatures have fallen a little bit, you have air conditioning which is on all the time,” Deschamps said.
“We’ve had a few cases of flu-like symptoms. We are trying to be careful so it doesn’t spread and players have made great efforts out on the pitch and obviously their immune systems suffer.
“Dayot Upamecano felt sick immediately after the match [against England]. It happens when you make such an effort, your body is weakened and you are more prone to be infected by these viruses.
“We are taking all necessary precautions, we are trying to make sure it doesn’t spread but viruses are of course infectious and we have to take precautions against it. We separated him from others and Adrien as well.”
France will be hoping that the virus threat doesn’t impede their preparations ahead of the World Cup final, where they will take on an Argentina side led by the galvanizing presence of an in-form Lionel Messi.