World Cup 2022 briefing: Day 3
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Lucas Hernandez has become the latest casualty of the World Cup as France coach Didier Deschamps faces an injury crisis just four days into the tournament. The centre-back suffered a rupture to the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in his knee during their 4-1 victory over Australia on Tuesday, which will rule out of the rest of the tournament and keep him sidelined for several months.
The Bayern Munich defender was taken off after just 13 minutes and it has been revealed that Hernandez sustained a serious injury after getting his foot stuck in the turf as he went to turn. He was replaced by his brother Theo Hernandez, who helped set up the goal for Adrien Rabiot’s equaliser as the reigning champions fought back from a goal down to seal an emphatic victory.
France issued a statement on their official Twitter account on Tuesday evening to confirm their latest injury blow, with Deschamps admitting his absence will see them lose “an important element”.
The statement read: “Victim of a rupture of the anterior cruciate ligament of the right knee, @LucasHernandez must give up the World Cup. The whole group wishes him the best possible recovery.”
Deschamps added: “Like the whole group, I am extremely sorry for Lucas. We are losing an important element. Lucas is a warrior and I have no doubt that he will do everything to get back to the fore.”
It means that France have now encountered seven injury problems in the lead-up to the World Cup with Deschamps no longer able to call up a replacement. N’Golo Kante and Paul Pogba’s long-term issues meant they were left at home as the World Cup winners named their 26-man squad.
Since then, however, they have picked up four more injuries. Ballon d’Or winner Karim Benzema was dealt a huge blow after picking up a knee problem in training, which was later confirmed to be serious enough to end his World Cup dreams.
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The Real Madrid striker, who scored 27 goals in La Liga last season, missed the 2018 tournament due to issues away from the pitch and now looks set to miss on playing in another tournament.
Shortly after, Chelsea-bound forward Christopher Nkunku was ruled out in the days leading up to the tournament, with Presnel Kimpembe joining Nkunku and Benzema on the injury table. Backup goalkeeper Mike Maignan was also ruled out, leaving Deschamps down to the bare bones with his inexperienced squad.
Despite their injury troubles, Les Bleus kicked off their group stage campaign with a morale-boosting victory over Australia, with Olivier Giroud equalling Thierry Henry’s all-time goalscoring record of 51 goals on his 113th cap for his country.
Kylian Mbappe and Rabiot also got on the scoresheet as France responded to their early setback after Craig Goodwin’s opener for the Socceroos.
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