Concern for virus-hit France as 5 players miss training ahead of World Cup final


Raphael Varane and Ibrahima Konate were among five France players who missed training on Friday, two days before the World Cup final against Argentina.

The two center backs have reportedly become the latest members of the France squad to be affected by a virus, according to French media.

Three other players — Dayot Upamecano, Adrien Rabiot and Kingsley Coman — were struck down by illness at the start of the week and had to isolate.

Upamecano and Rabiot were back in training Friday, but Coman was still missing. Theo Hernandez and Aurelien Tchouameni were also absent, French sports daily L’Equipe reported.

France winger Ousmane Dembele said he and his teammates were not worried about key players becoming sick ahead of Sunday’s final.

“No, we are not,” Dembele said. “We are not afraid of the virus. Dayot and Adrien had a headache, a little stomach ache.

“I made them a little tea with ginger and honey and they were better,” Dembele added, laughing.

France forward Randal Kuolo Mani said medical staff had set up sanitary zones and players were being extra careful.

“Those who are sick stay in their room,” Kuolo Mani said. “The doctors take good care of them, and we wash our hands. There is gel for everyone before going to the table we shake hands with our fists. So I think we’re very, very strict on it.”

France coach Didier Deschamps has said his players’ immune systems “might be a little run down” because of the intensity of the tournament. He also noted the “use of air conditioners may also affect” how the virus is circulating.

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