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The French Football Federation (FFF) has condemned racist messages directed towards Eduardo Camavinga on social media after Christopher Nkunku was injured ahead of the World Cup.

Nkunku was ruled out of the tournament in Qatar after suffering a knee sprain in training on Tuesday and is reportedly facing up to eight weeks on the sidelines.

Video footage circulated on social media purporting to show Nkunku sustaining the injury in a challenge with Camavinga, which led to the Real Madrid midfielder receiving discriminatory messages.

A statement released by the FFF on Thursday read: "Following Christopher Nkunku's injury, Eduardo Camavinga was the victim of racist messages on social media.

"The FFF condemns these attacks in the strongest possible terms and is in full support of Eduardo."

Nkunku also defended Camavinga when addressing his social media followers on Wednesday, saying the 20-year-old had been "unfairly targeted" and calling for unity from supporters.

"Yesterday evening, following the medical examinations, I had to leave Les Bleus and forfeit the World Cup," Nkunku wrote on Twitter.

"Now, let's get to work with one and only objective, to come back even stronger.

"A thought for my team-mate Eduardo Camavinga, who was unfairly targeted. The World Cup must be a moment of togetherness and not of division."

France begin their Group D campaign against Australia on Tuesday, having suffered several injury blows ahead of their bid to become the first team to successfully defend the World Cup since Brazil in 1962.

Midfield duo Paul Pogba and N'Golo Kante will both join Nkunku in missing the tournament, as will Paris Saint-Germain defender Presnel Kimpembe, who withdrew from their squad on Monday.

Costa Rica cancelled their World Cup warm-up match against Iraq due to an issue over passports.

Luis Fernando Suarez's side were set for one final test before they begin their Group E campaign against Spain in Qatar next Wednesday.

Ahead of travelling to the Gulf State on Friday, Costa Rica had been staying in Kuwait, with the intention to cross into Iraq for Thursday's friendly.

But having travelled to the border on Wednesday, a request to have their passports not stamped was not honoured by local authorities, forcing them to return to their camp.

"The match against Iraq was suspended," Costa Rica's Football Federation stated.

"An agreement that was made with the non-stamping of passports was not respected and for this reason it was decided not to enter Iraq and cancel the match."

Costa Rica are competing in their third consecutive tournament, having reached a best-ever finish at Brazil 2014 by progressing to the quarter-finals.

A dismal Russia 2018 campaign saw them eliminated in the group stages, with Suarez's side likely to face a tough test in a group that also contains Japan and Germany.

Hansi Flick was pleased to see Niclas Fullkrug score on his Germany debut, but admitted his side were far from their best despite the 1-0 win over Oman.

The visitors struggled in Muscat in their World Cup warm-up game, relying on substitute Fullkrug's 80th-minute strike to take victory in a match that never really got going.

Though Germany will not be the only side battling fatigue amid a mid-season tournament, their lacklustre performance against relative minnows perhaps highlighted the difficulties they could face at Qatar 2022, which begins on Sunday.

Flick did take time to praise Fullkrug, the Werder Bremen striker winning his first cap after firing 10 goals in 14 Bundesliga games this season, while outlining his concerns over their warm-up showing.

"He deserved the goal," Flick told RTL after the win. "He had two or three other shots also. You could already feel when he was on the pitch, there was a presence up front."

Germany won just 38.4 per cent of their duels against Oman, but while the head coach admitted they will need to do better at the World Cup, did acknowledge that low number was likely down to his players wanting to avoid injury.

"Of course you have to say, if you see how we tackled in duels, that's not the level we want at the World Cup. But you can also understand that no one wants to hurt themselves."

Flick did lose defender Lukas Klostermann during the first half, with the RB Leipzig man only recently returning from a lay-off with knee ligament issues.

Germany kick off their World Cup campaign against Japan on November 23, before further Group E matches with Spain and Costa Rica.

Lionel Scaloni will consider making changes to Argentina's squad ahead of their World Cup campaign getting under way should players not prove their fitness.

Argentina head coach Scaloni named his 26-man travelling part for Qatar 2022 on Sunday ahead of his side's opening Group C fixture against Saudi Arabia on November 22.

Paulo Dybala made the cut after recently returning from injury for club side Roma, though he played no part in Wednesday's 5-0 win over the United Arab Emirates.

Teams can make injury-enforced changes to their squad from a list of 55 players previously submitted until the day before their opening game, something Scaloni is open to.

"We have some little problems and still have some days to decide the list," he told TyC Sports. "We can make changes, hopefully not, but there is the possibility. 

"There are several players who today have been left out of the side because they were either not fit to play or there was a risk of injury.

"I can't guarantee that these players are fine. In principle, they are, but you have to be cautious. That's why we have been careful with the minutes."

Argentina had no trouble extending their unbeaten run to 36 matches with their five-star showing against the UAE, with Angel Di Maria and Lionel Messi playing big parts.

Di Maria scored twice and assisted one for Messi, who had earlier played in Julian Alvarez for the opener, before substitute Joaquin Correa added a fifth in the second period.

"We played with a World Cup mentality today," said midfielder Rodrigo de Paul. "I think this was a good test but we played well and also kept a clean sheet.

"If we want our opening [World Cup] match to go well, we have to arrive with this same mentality. We expressed ourselves well and continually want to improve."

Reigning South American champions Argentina follow up their opener against Saudi Arabia with game against Mexico and Poland.

Lionel Messi and Angel Di Maria played starring roles as Argentina eased to a 5-0 win over the United Arab Emirates in their final outing ahead of the 2022 World Cup.

Lionel Scaloni's men had no trouble in extending their unbeaten run to 36 matches heading into the tournament thanks to a commanding victory in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday.

Di Maria scored twice and assisted one for Messi, who had earlier played in Julian Alvarez for the opener, as Argentina raced into a four-goal half-time lead.

Substitute Joaquin Correa scored the only goal of a disrupted second half as the reigning South American champions signed off for Qatar in style.

Messi was played clean through on goal but unselfishly squared for Alvarez to squeeze past Khalid Eisa as Argentina made their early dominance count with 17 minutes played.

Di Maria opened his account with a crisp volley that went in off the far post and then showed brilliant footwork to get away from his man, round the goalkeeper and add his second.

The UAE, who finished behind Iran and South Korea in qualifying to miss out on a place in Qatar, were further behind before half-time when Messi fired past Eisa after being played in by Di Maria.

Despite making four changes at the break, with Di Maria making way, Argentina continued to dominate and Correa slotted home a fifth on the hour despite being under pressure.

Caio Canedo went closest to pulling one back for the UAE with a shot that was cleared off the line late on, but La Albiceleste saw out a fifth clean sheet in a row.

Neymar revealed he and Paris Saint-Germain team-mate Lionel Messi joke about a potential World Cup final between Brazil and Argentina in Qatar.

Neymar and Messi, alongside Kylian Mbappe, form a fearsome front three for PSG, one that has fired them to a five-point lead at the top of Ligue 1 and reached the Champions League knockout stages.

But that alliance will be temporarily halted until PSG's next game on December 28, as the three superstars bid to win the World Cup for their respective countries.

While he was highly complimentary of Messi and Mbappe, Neymar jokingly hinted that he fancies his Brazil side's chances in a potential match-up with Messi's Argentina.

"We don't discuss it very much," Neymar told The Telegraph. "But sometimes we joke about crossing paths with each other in the final.

"I tell him [Messi] that I'll be champion and win against him and we have a good laugh.

"Playing with him and Kylian is a huge pleasure. They're two greats, with Messi long considered the best in the world.

"Kylian is a young player who’s been growing and showing his potential and still has a lot to grow. It's always great to play alongside the greats, I've always preferred that because the chances of winning are higher."

Neymar feels Brazil are one of the favourites, but also highlighted a number of other teams he believes are capable of making the final on December 18.

"The World Cup is full of surprises," he explained. "You get teams that unexpectedly get very far even in the competition even if many don't believe in them.

"But I believe the favourites are Argentina, Germany, Spain and France. I think those four along with Brazil are fully capable of reaching the final."

At the age of 30, the Qatar World Cup could be Neymar's last attempt at glory with Brazil, having fallen short in his two previous experiences at international football's premier tournament.

One of those was particularly painful, when Neymar suffered a back injury in a victorious quarter-final meeting with Colombia at Brazil's home tournament in 2014.

Neymar was ruled out of the semi-final with Germany, a match Brazil went on to lose by a humiliating 7-1 scoreline.

But the former Barcelona forward says his career would not feel incomplete if he were to never win the World Cup, saying: "No, in my career I've achieved things beyond my imagination.

"So, if it ended today, I would still be the happiest person in the world."

The number 10 jersey that Neymar dons for Brazil is steeped in history, having been worn by Selecao legends like Pele, Ronaldinho and Zico.

Neymar does not experience the pressure that could come with following those Brazilian idols, declaring: "I don't feel under pressure, quite the opposite.

"I'm happy to be able to wear the number 10 on the Brazilian team and make history. It's a great pride and honour to be part of the group of players that wore it and I only feel happiness about it."

James Maddison will likely be available for England's World Cup opener against Iran following the Leicester City forward's injury scare against West Ham.

The Foxes forward earned a Three Lions recall last week as part of Gareth Southgate's 26-man party for Qatar 2022, three years on from his only cap.

But Maddison's long-awaited return to the fold looked to be in jeopardy after he departed early during his side's Premier League clash with the Hammers over the weekend.

He has since travelled to Qatar with the rest of the England squad, however, and has now allayed fears of a potential lay-off that could disrupt his tournament.

"The injury is OK," he stated. "We had a scan the day before we met up, and it was positive. I had a little problem in the lead up to the West Ham game.

"I wanted to play, I didn't want to not play because of the World Cup, that's not the sort of person I am. I wanted to show the focus was still there.

"I'll have to do a little bit of work with the physios here to get up to full speed [but] it shouldn't affect me playing in the first game. I'm hopeful I'll be fine."

Maddison was one of a few players Southgate revealed he called to inform they had been selected ahead of his squad announcement, wanting to assuage the Leicester man's concerns over any inclusion, though the 25-year-old initially did not answer.

"I was actually having a chatting with Brendan [Rodgers] in his office," he added. "He asked me if I'd had the call and I said no nothing yet.

"I went downstairs into the dressing room, and I'd missed a call off Gareth. The heart starts beating. I'd had his number saved still.

"I went up and called him back, and he gave me the good news, which was all a bit of a blur. After the call had ended it was a head on the wall moment, took a big deep breath, and then I called my parents."

Lionel Messi is unsure how much longer he will continue playing, but is enjoying his football following a tough period of adaptation at Paris Saint-Germain.

Messi endured a difficult first season after swapping Barcelona for PSG last August, scoring 11 goals in 34 appearances – his lowest scoring campaign since 2005-06, when he was 18 years old. 

The seven-time Ballon d'Or winner has looked rejuvenated this season, though, already hitting the net 12 times as well as laying on 14 assists. 

PSG team-mate Neymar and Manchester City's Erling Haaland are the only players in Europe's top five leagues to have matched his total of 26 goal involvements this term.

However, speaking to Movistar ahead of Argentina's World Cup campaign, the 35-year-old hinted the end of his playing career may not be too far away, though he expects to stay in football when he does retire.

"I love playing and I enjoy it, the only thing I've done all my life is play football and I'm sure it [a future role] will be related, although I don't know what," Messi said.

"I don't think I'll play much more. I don't know, so many things happen. It was a dream that I always had as a child, to be able to play for Argentina. 

"But today it depends on many things. I have my family, three children, I just had a very big change in my life that cost me and my whole family a lot. Today I got over it, and we feel spectacular."


Asked whether he feels more comfortable on the pitch after spending a year bedding in at the Parc des Princes, Messi said: "That's true, I am enjoying it much more, I am discovering the city and I think it's beautiful. 

"The first year was a huge change for me, everything went wrong because it all came out of the blue and it was not a decision I was aiming for, leaving Barcelona was sudden. 

"After this long process and tough moments, today I'm happy to be living where I live, and me and my family are enjoying Paris."

Recalling his first season in Ligue 1, Messi said: "It was hard, we had been in the same place all our lives. I had never moved and I didn't know how it would be, plus it was not a decision we made. 

"It came all of a sudden. We had to leave Barcelona overnight and found ourselves where everything was new. 

"We had our lives in Barcelona with friends, places and people, and you have to get to know other places, with another language, other football, other weather.

"I suffered a lot, it was hard. But today I am enjoying everything, including football."

Netherlands head coach Louis van Gaal has backed fans who have decided to boycott the World Cup in Qatar.

After a 12-year wait loaded with controversy, the first World Cup to be played in the Middle East begins on Sunday when Qatar face Ecuador.

There has been scrutiny on the hosts surrounding human rights issues, the treatment of migrant workers and the illegality of homosexuality, with FIFA having written to all participating nations and urging them to "focus on the football".

That seems unlikely to happen, however, with a number of nations already speaking out, and Van Gaal has issued his support to any fans boycotting the tournament.

"I think that they are right to do that because they believe in that and they have to do that, so no problem with that," he said.

"And I hope that we play so fantastic that at the end of the tournament when we play the final, they shall look for the television how good we are.

"I think that you have to play in football countries, more experience with everything, but also to stimulate that country in another way, in the right way.

"This is also a small country, my family or my friends have a lot of difficulties to find the place, so that's also a remark.

"The organisation and the pitches and everything, the facilities, these are very good."

On the field, Van Gaal admits that he does not have the best players at his disposal in the Netherlands squad but still feels they can be successful.

"I believe that we don't have the best players on earth in our team, but I believe in team building and tactics and I believe that we can come to the end but we need also luck, that is also important," he explained.

"And because of that and because I believe in imagination, I speak about to be the world champion at the end of the tournament because when you can imagine that, you can do it also on the pitch, because we have players who can execute the tactics of the coaches of the Netherlands."

The Netherlands begin their campaign against Senegal on November 22, before facing Ecuador and hosts Qatar in Group A.

Christopher Nkunku has been ruled out of the World Cup after the France striker suffered a knee injury in training on Tuesday.

The RB Leipzig frontman took a knock in a challenge with Eduardo Camavinga as they contested a 50-50 ball and he had to be helped off the field.

It was later confirmed Nkunku will not travel to Qatar after tests revealed he had sprained his left knee.

The French Football Federation sent Nkunku's medical file to FIFA in order for the defending champions to call up a replacement.

He is expected to be replaced by either Wissam Ben Yedder, Moussa Diaby, Morgan Terrier or Randal Kolo Muani.

Head coach Didier Deschamps and the squad are due to depart for their Doha base on Wednesday.

Les Bleus begin their World Cup Group D campaign against Australia on November 22, before tackling Denmark and Tunisia.

Among players from Europe's top five leagues – the Premier League, LaLiga, Bundesliga, Ligue 1 and Serie A – only France team-mate Kylian Mbappe has managed more combined goals and assists since the beginning of 2022 than Nkunku.

The 25-year-old has achieved a total of 48 goal involvements (37 goals and 11 assists) in the calendar year, with Mbappe leading the way on 57 (43 goals and 14 assists).

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