the Blues landed in Doha six days before their first match

After two days of gathering at the Clairefontaine training center (Yvelines), mainly dedicated to recovery, Kylian Mbappé and the Blues got down to business on Wednesday, landing in Qatar around 7:30 p.m. local time, or around 5:30 p.m. in Paris.

The French delegation, which took off from Le Bourget on Wednesday morning, has a last-minute absentee: Nkunku. Germany’s current top scorer suffered a sprained left knee on Tuesday night and had to withdraw. After Paul Pogba, N’Golo Kanté, Presnel Kimpembe and Mike Maignan, who also threw in the towel, it’s a carnage for the world champions.

Kolo Muani as backup

Coach Didier Deschamps has decided to call in Frankfurt striker Randal Kolo Muani, who joined the Blues Thursday morning in Doha. Fifa allows changes to be made to the official list of players summoned in the event of serious injury until the day before the start of the competition.

Despite these setbacks, the Blues must quickly immerse themselves in their competition, taking up residence at the Al Messila hotel, west of the city center, a five-star haven of peace appreciated by the staff for its green spaces and its tranquility.

Fans already present

In front of the hotel, several dozen fans gathered at the start of the evening to welcome the world champions, most of them residents of Doha from Lebanon, France or India, equipped with flags, jerseys, trumpets and drums. . “For me, the World Cup has always been a dream, and here I have the opportunity to see my country play here in Qatar, in my country of expatriation”, enthuses an 18-year-old high school student living in Doha. , who trembles with impatience.

The Blues remain attentive to the recovery of defensive leader Raphaël Varane and Ballon d’Or Karim Benzema, both affected in the thigh and absent from the collective sessions until then.

Post office Les Bleus smokers

The other concern of the French team, before the tournament, is extra-sporting: the French have been summoned to take a stand on the controversies proposing the organizing country, targeted by NGOs concerning its management of human rights, in particular on construction sites of the World Cup.

Will the criticisms be extinguished by the commitment made on Tuesday by the Blues to provide financial support to NGOs working “for the protection of human rights”, recalling in passing their “attachment” to the “refusal of all forms of discrimination “? Their captain Hugo Lloris assumed the fact of “keeping the focus on the game and avoiding wasting energy with these elements, which unfortunately are not the responsibility” of the players.


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