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Blow to William Saliba’s World Cup final chances

Blow to William Saliba’s World Cup final chances


France's defender Raphael Varane (L) leaves the field to be replaced by France's defender William Saliba (C) during the friendly football match between France and Ivory Coast at the Velodrome Stadium in Marseille, southern France, on March 25, 2022. (Photo by NICOLAS TUCAT/AFP via Getty Images)
France’s defender Raphael Varane (L) leaves the field to be replaced by France’s defender William Saliba (C) during the friendly football match between France and Ivory Coast at the Velodrome Stadium in Marseille, southern France, on March 25, 2022. (Photo by NICOLAS TUCAT/AFP via Getty Images)

With Dayot Upamecano, Raphael Varane, and Ibrahima Konate all struggling with an illness this week, William Saliba’s chances of making the France starting lineup were at least marginally improved ahead of Sunday’s World Cup final.

But the worst of Upamecano’s illness was before the semi-final against Morocco, which he missed. He’s likely to be back and involved against Argentina.

As for Konate and Varane, after missing training on Friday, L’Equipe (via GFFN) now report that they’re expected to train as normal on Saturday night. Kingsley Coman is the only player still isolating.

Sources had played down the severity of the illnesses to begin with, and L’Equipe had stated that Varane was only suffering mild symptoms. Konate’s were more pronounced, but it seems he’s now okay.

For the time being, there are still no reports of William Saliba coming down with anything.

France's defender #17 William Saliba warms up before the start of the Qatar 2022 World Cup round of 16 football match between France and Poland at the Al-Thumama Stadium in Doha on December 4, 2022. (Photo by MANAN VATSYAYANA/AFP via Getty Images)
France’s defender William Saliba warms up before the start of the Qatar 2022 World Cup round of 16 football match between France and Poland at the Al-Thumama Stadium in Doha on December 4, 2022. (Photo by MANAN VATSYAYANA/AFP via Getty Images)

Saliba has so far only appeared for France at the World Cup in their group game against Tunisia, playing 27 minutes from the bench with his side already 1-0 down.

It seemed unlikely he’d start even with Konate out, and even more so now.

Still, the issues in preparation for the match could mean the three affected centre-backs aren’t up for 120 minutes, should the game go the full distance. Maybe Saliba could get on for a late cameo.

One encouraging thing to note for Arsenal fans is that Aaron Ramsdale has immediately returned to training after his elimination with England.

Whilst other players have had at least a week off, Ramsdale has come back sooner, presumably because he wasn’t involved in matches with England. With Saliba playing so little, perhaps he’ll adopt a similar approach.





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