Didier Deschamps must weigh up his options ahead of France’s showdown with Jamaica, after Franck Ribery was ruled out of the FIFA World Cup.
France’s preparations for the marquee tournament were rocked by the news that the Bayern Munich winger will play no part in Brazil due to a back injury.
The 31-year-old had shown signs of improvements and it was hoped he could feature in Sunday’s encounter with Winfried Schafer’s men at Stade Pierre-Mauroy.
However, he suffered a setback during sprint tests on Friday and an MRI scan ruled him out of contention.
In a further blow, Lyon midfielder Clement Grenier has also been forced to miss the tournamwnt in Brazil with a groin injury sustained in training on Thursday.
Montepellier’s Remy Cabella and Southampton’s Morgan Schneiderlin have been called up in their place, and the duo will hope for a chance to stake their claim against Jamaica.
For France coach Deschamps, the double blow is untimely as he bids to eradicate the memories of France’s last two major tournaments.
France suffered the humiliation of finishing bottom of Group A with just a solitary point at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, while the 2012 Euros ended in quarter-final heartbreak to eventual winners Spain.
Both tournaments were marred by reports of discontent in the French camp, but New York Bulls striker Thierry Henry believes Deschamps will maintain squad harmony.
Henry was part of the France team captained by Deschamps that won the 1998 World Cup on home soil, and the former Arsenal man believes he has the perfect temperament.
“He can keep everyone happy,” the former Arsenal man told The London Evening Standard. “I don’t know what it is with Didier. He was the first captain to lift the World Cup for France, he was the first captain for Marseille to win the Champions League for a French team.
“I don’t know what it is with him but it is not luck anymore. He is working well and hard, he has all the tools to make the team happy and perform.”
A run of just one defeat in their past 10 matches certainly suggests France are improving, and the current team have one last chance to stake a spot in the starting XI against a Jamaica side who are 64 places below them in the FIFA world rankings.
But Schafer’s men have proved stern opposition in recently friendly encounters, and put in spirited displays in the 2-1 and 1-0 losses to Serbia and Switzerland respectively, before drawing 2-2 with Egypt in their latest outing.
With Caribbean Cup and Copa America campaigns on the horizon, Jamaica – who have only once qualified for the World Cup in 1998 – will no doubt relish the opportunity to test themselves against seemingly superior competition.
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