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France duo Raphael Varane and Ibrahima Konate battling illness ahead of World Cup final

Raphael Varane is battling a virus ahead of Sunday's World Cup final against Argentina

France’s TWO starting centre-backs are hit with the virus spreading through their squad, two days before the World Cup final, with Raphael Varane and Ibrahima Konate now sick and AIR CONDITIONING in Qatar being blamed.

  • World Cup finalists France have battled a virus inside their camp
  • Central defenders Raphael Varane and Ibrahima Konaté have both fallen ill
  • It comes just two days before their World Cup final against Argentina in Qatar
  • The defending champions are already missing several key players through illness
  • France blame air conditioning in Qatar for players’ discomfort
  • Click here for the latest news, fixtures, live action and results from the 2022 World Cup

Raphael Varane and Ibrahima Konaté have become the latest French players to catch a virus that is sweeping the reigning World Cup champions ahead of Sunday’s final with Argentina.

Manchester United’s Varane and Liverpool defender Konaté both starred as Didier Deschamps’ side beat Morocco 2-0 on Wednesday night to set up this weekend’s final with Argentina.

However, it is understood the two centre-backs woke up with mild cold and flu symptoms on Friday morning and will now be in isolation and monitored for the next 24 hours.

Varane's centre-back partner Ibrahima Konaté also fell ill ahead of the final

Varane’s centre-back partner Ibrahima Konaté also fell ill ahead of the final


Air conditioning disease can occur when there is poor ventilation inside a building and there are bacteria inside that specific area.

Air conditioning can spread bacteria, causing cold-causing viruses to be picked up by those in that area.

Fellow defender Dayot Upamecano and midfielder Adrien Rabiot fell ill earlier this week and missed the semi-final. Reserve winger Kingsley Coman has also been ill.

France coach Didier Deschamps explained the situation on Thursday, telling reporters: “Coman had a fever this morning. ‘We had a few cases of flu-like symptoms. We are trying to be careful so it doesn’t spread. .

“The players tried very hard on the pitch and obviously their immune systems suffered.

‘Dayot Upamecano felt bad after the game against England. It happens when you exercise so much, you are more prone to catching these viruses. We take all the necessary precautions.

Striker Randal Kolo Muani, who came off the bench to score France’s second goal in their win over Morocco, said on Friday: “There is a little flu spreading but nothing serious. They will soon be healed and ready for Sunday.

A French press officer added: “As you know, Randal is not a doctor, we will talk about that later.”

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Kolo Muani said players who fell ill were isolated.

“Those who are sick stay in their room, they are taken care of by doctors and we have imposed social distancing. We are very strict about it,” he said.

Striker Ousmane Dembele said: “We are not afraid of this virus. Dayot and Adrien had a bit of a stomach ache, I made them a ginger and honey herbal tea and then they felt better. J hope everyone will be ready for the final.

‘Dayot has improved and I think everyone will be ready. We took precautions. The first day Dayot stayed in his room and we brought him food and he was back with everyone the next day.

Adrien Rabiot (left) and Dayot Upamecano (right) missed the French national team semi-final due to illness

Adrien Rabiot (left) and Dayot Upamecano (right) missed the French national team semi-final due to illness

Huge air conditioning machines have been installed in stadiums to help players cope with the heat

Huge air conditioning machines have been installed in stadiums to help players cope with the heat

The French camp blamed the disease virus on air conditioning in Qatar which is used to keep players, staff and fans cool in the scorching heat.

They are not the first team to complain about it, after Brazil and Manchester United star Antony also raised the issue and the effect it was having on his side earlier in the tournament.

Meanwhile, fans have also complained about the air conditioning inside the various stadiums at the tournament, revealing that they had to wear sweaters to keep warm during matches.

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Just days after fans raised concerns about the air conditioning, it has been confirmed that World Cup chiefs turned it off an hour before England’s group game against the United States , which ended in a goalless draw.

Several English players then complained afterwards that it was too hot inside the stadium during the game.

Didier Deschamps can't wait to see if Varane and Konaté will be fit for Sunday

Didier Deschamps can’t wait to see if Varane and Konaté will be fit for Sunday

Deschamps now faces an anxious wait to see if Varane or Konaté will recover in time with the final just 48 hours away.

If the pair are unable to step onto the pitch, that could see Upamecano return, while Arsenal’s William Saliba would be another option.

Jules Kounde could also move inside after playing as a right-back in Qatar, but that would likely lead to a major reshuffle at the back, with either Benjamin Pavard or Axel Disasi at full-back.

There has been talk of a return to the France squad for striker Karim Benzema after the injured Ballon D’Or winger found his form. This remains to be confirmed or denied by the French Football Federation.

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