France’s World Cup hopes have been dealt a major blow today with the news that star winger Franck Ribery will miss the tournament through injury.
The Bayern Munch attacker, who came third in the last year’s Ballon d’Or, sustained an injury to his lower back during a training session on Friday, and today failed a final fitness test, ruling him out of the tournament, with France’s 2014 World Cup odds sure to take a hit.
“He is not capable of training for a few weeks, let alone play a game,” France manager Didier Deschamps told a news conference,
“He had to stop in training, the pain was too strong. We made checks in the beginning of the afternoon, checks that confirmed the situation has aggravated.”
At 31, Ribery will surely never play in a World Cup again, and his absence will certainly weaken the French, who are by no means a stable outfit, having had to scrape through the qualification period thanks to an unlikely 3-2 aggregate win over Ukraine back in November.
Lyon midfielder Clement Grenier has also been ruled out of the tournament, and he and Ribery will be replaced by Montpellier’s Remy Cabella and Southampton’s Morgan Schneiderlin.
Real Sociedad winger Antoine Griezmann could well fill Ribery’s shoes, with his devastating wide play and penchant for the spectacular sure to give French fans cause for optimism. The 23-year-old scored his first goal for France in the 1-1 draw with Paraguay earlier this month with a lovely curling effort, and he is certainly one to watch this summer.
The crocked Ribery joins a growing list of stars who will miss the World Cup, with Colombia striker Radamel Falcao also ruled out through injury earlier this week.
There are growing fears that Portugal star Cristiano Ronaldo will also miss the showpiece event, as it was revealed that the superstar is carrying two separate injures; tendinosis in his left knee, as well as a muscular problem in his left thigh.