World Cup 2022: France dealt major blow as forward ruled out injured

France are amongst the favourites to win the Qatar World Cup with many lauding the depth of their squad but we’ve not even seen the opening ceremony yet and they’ve just lost one of their key attacking talents in Christopher Nkunku.

Nkunku injury update: What happened during France training session clash?

Didier Deschamps men haven’t even boarded the plane for Qatar yet with Les Bleus still at their Clairefontaine national camp on the outskirts of Paris but there are no signs of their players taking it easy ahead of the big kick off with Nkunku suffering his World Cup ending dream in training.

The specifics of the injury are not yet known, however, videos circulating online show Nkunku coming out on the wrong side of a mistimed 50/50 tackle by Real Madrid’s Eduardo Camavinga. The challenge was seemingly nothing more than an innocent coming together, which means there won’t be unrest in the camp, but the injury was clear to see. Nkunku writhed around in pain in the immediate aftermath of the challenge with the French football confederation confirming the bad news citing their shared “sadness” and wishing the player a “speedy recovery”.

Was Nkunku really going to play a big role in Qatar?

It’s easy to look at the wealth of attacking talents available to Deschamps and dismiss the injury to Nkunku but, the truth is, he was going to be involved in this World Cup. Sure, France have the likes of Karim Benzema, Kylian Mbappe and Ousmane Dembele available to them but Nkunku has been on fire this season. We’re only in November and he’s bagged 17 goals and four assists from just 23 games for Leipzig giving him a goal contribution every 93 minutes.

It is debatable whether or not Nkunku would have been in Deschamps’ strongest XI during the World Cup but it’s almost guaranteed that he would have been utilised at various points throughout the tournament be that as an impact sub or in rotation with the other attacking talents available to them.

There are very few teams – if any – can afford to lose a player in the sort of form Nkunku has been showing.

How will Nkunku’s injury impact France?

Nkunku’s injury in itself, whilst a big blow, isn’t the end of the world for France. They do have a great deal of strength in the forward areas and can draft in a replacement, however, the withdrawal of Nkunku from the squad isn’t the first blow suffered by the reigning World Champions. On top of Nkunku’s loss, France are already without N’Golo Kante and Paul Pogba meaning their injuries to big players are seriously racking up.

In addition to the holes these players leave on the pitch and as characters in the dressing room, there could be a sense of misfortune building up in the camp. Losing significant members of your squad will put a dampener on morale whilst the manner of Nkunku’s injury could see others drop a percent or two in training to avoid a similar fate.

With all that being said, France will still expect to go deep at Qatar.

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