FIFA World Cup 2022: France has only one left-back, Lucas Hernandez leaves Qatar with a cruciate ligament rupture

France vs Australia: Group D – FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022
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of France comfortable 4:1 victory Above Australia in the opening game of the group stage on Tuesday was not without suffering. Les Bleus left rear Lucas Hernandez left the game just 13 minutes into the Socceroos’ scoring sequence with what was later diagnosed by MRI as a torn ACL in his right knee, the French Football Federation.

It’s an injury that not only spells the end of his World Cup, but also sidelines him for the foreseeable future for Bayern Munich as the German club prepare for the Champions League knockout stages in February.

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Hernandez was replaced by his younger brother Theo Hernandez, who provided an assist in the game, but now there is only one left-back left in Didier Deschamps’ squad.

To make matters worse for Deschamps, when Karim Benzema fell down with an injury that prevented him from participating in this World Cup, he chose not to field a replacement, leaving him with just 24 players for France’s remaining games. It was a World Cup with a veritable spate of injuries for France, with Presnal Kimpembe and Christopher Nkunku also being replaced from the original squad, while N’Golo Kante, Paul Pogba and others were unfit to be selected.

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At this point someone needs to play out of position at left-back if Hernandez can’t play Benjamin Pavard and Jules Kounde are the only defenders with experience on the right flank. If France are able to maintain their free attack led by Oliver Giroud and Kylian Mbappe throughout the World Cup, they might not have to defend much. But as we get further into the tournament, yellow cards will start to pile up and the lack of defensive depth will be something to watch out for.

Recent history is not on France’s side, as four of the last five champions were eliminated in the group stage of the subsequent World Cup. It’s a trend that started in 2002 after Les Bleus clinched their first world title in 1998 and it’s a taboo they could essentially shatter this time in Qatar.


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