Raphael Varane confirmed players in the France camp are concerned after Paul Pogba's brother was charged and detained over an alleged extortion attempt against the midfielder.

Pogba is absent from the France squad at present due to injury, and his chances of playing at the World Cup hang in the balance.

However, it has been off-field matters that have grabbed the attention recently regarding the Juventus player.

An investigation was opened in August into allegations Pogba was the target of an extortion plot by brother Mathias and childhood friends demanding a €13million sum.

Mathias, who is a free agent after a spell with French fourth-tier side Belfort came to an end in April, threatened to share "explosive revelations" in a video posted on social media.

The 32-year-old has denied taking part in extortion attempts against his brother, but he and four others were recently charged in relation to the matter.

New videos from Mathias Pogba were released on Friday, making various claims that were not substantiated, with the story remaining high on the news agenda in France.

Asked whether the France players are talking about the Pogba issue, Varane said: "Unfortunately there is lots of non-sporting news at the moment. We try to be focused on the pitch.

"As a player, that is what must take precedence, but we are not insensitive to what is happening around us. Especially when it involves someone you know. We also feel concerned in a certain way.

"Internally, we're going very well. We are focused on our objective, and we try to be as professional as possible."

Varane and Pogba were club-mates at Manchester United last season, before Pogba moved on at the end of his Old Trafford contract to embark on a second spell at Juventus.

France head coach Didier Deschamps said he would not be distracted by external events, as he prepares his team to face Denmark on Sunday in the Nations League.

"There is nothing and no one to disturb my tranquillity," Deschamps said. "If there are fewer non-sporting debates, it is better."

Varane is set to face United team-mate Christian Eriksen in Copenhagen, and he continues to be impressed by how the former Tottenham and Inter playmaker has returned to football following the cardiac arrest he suffered at last year's European Championship.

Acquired from Brentford in the off-season, Eriksen has quickly become a key figure at United, and defender Varane said: "He managed to integrate quickly into the squad.

"He has a lot of qualities. We are very happy to see him playing at this level after what he has been through. He's a player that I appreciate."

Roma's Leonardo Spinazzola has revealed he chose to miss Italy's Nations League fixtures to conduct individual training this month, as he continues his recovery from a serious Achilles tendon injury.

Spinazzola enjoyed a breakthrough on the international stage during Italy's successful Euro 2020 campaign last year, impressing as an attacking left-back for Roberto Mancini's side.

However, he suffered a ruptured Achilles tendon during the Azzurri's quarter-final win over Belgium in July 2021, returning to feature in just three Serie A matches before the end of last season.

The 29-year-old has appeared in all seven of the Giallorossi's league games this campaign, but revealed his previous injury continues to have an impact after opting to skip Italy's Nations League matches against England and Hungary.

"Not to go to Coverciano was my request to Roberto Mancini, the coach understood and allowed me these 10 days to get back in shape and do specific work for the calf," he told the club's media channels.

"I think mine is one of the worst injuries for a player, especially given my characteristics. I still lack some support and speed."

Roma are four points adrift of early Serie A pace-setters Napoli and Atalanta, but the arrival of Paulo Dybala and influence of coach Jose Mourinho have seen them tipped as potential title challengers.

Spinazzola spoke highly of the former Chelsea and Real Madrid boss, adding: "We are with him, whatever he says, we do. If he told us to go to war, we would do it. 

"That's right, he has this gift. Then everything he says, for the most part, comes true.

"But he is very calm in training. I don't know how he was in the past, but he's really calm. Sometimes he just observes from above. 

"He likes to observe how you move, how you move your body, your body language, he observes a lot of these things."

Roma were beaten by Atalanta in their last league outing, and will face a huge test of their Serie A credentials when they travel to another of Mourinho's former clubs Inter on October 1.

Barcelona have confirmed Ronald Araujo suffered a thigh injury while on international duty with Uruguay, adding to the Blaugrana's defensive problems after Jules Kounde sustained a hamstring injury.

Araujo was substituted just five minutes into Uruguay's 1-0 friendly loss to Iran in Austria on Friday, having pulled up less than a minute into the match. 

Earlier on Friday, the French Football Federation announced Jules Kounde was to leave Didier Deschamps' squad after being replaced during their Nations League win over Austria on Thursday.

Barcelona have now revealed the nature of the duo's injuries, with Araujo suffering an avulsion fracture in his right thigh and Kounde having a biceps femoris injury in his left hamstring.

A statement from the Blaugrana did not specify a timeframe for the return of either defender, but reports in Spain have suggested both could be out of action for around a month.

Losing both Araujo and Kounde for any significant period of time would be a major blow for Xavi, who has made the pair defensive mainstays in his new-look team.

Araujo has started all six of Barca's fixtures in LaLiga this season, while Kounde – who has filled in at right-back since his move from Sevilla – has recorded two assists in three league outings for the Catalan giants.

Germany boss Hansi Flick says he must take responsibility for his side's Nations League defeat to Hungary, after suffering the first loss of his tenure.

Adam Szalai's outrageous first-half flick was the only goal of a 1-0 loss in Leipzig, as the hosts failed to turn almost three-quarters of possession into a response on the scoreboard in Group A3.

It condemned Germany to a first loss against Hungary since 2004, with Flick's side often looking uncomfortably despite their control, with Jonas Hofmann dropped to right-back instead of his traditional midfield role.

Speaking afterwards, the former Bayern Munich boss admitted he has gambled incorrectly, though England's loss to Italy means they are safe from relegation, excusing further blushes.

"We wanted to try something with Jonas in the right-back position," he told ZDF. "I have to take responsibility for that. We never got where we wanted to use [our full-backs]. That's didn't work."

Addressing a media conference shortly afterwards, Flick added his side would not be disorientated by the result with the Qatar 2022 World Cup looming however, adding: "This defeat will not throw us off track.

"We know what is required of us now and this has opened our eyes a bit. It’s better to lose now rather than at the World Cup.

"Our first half was really poor. We didn’t do enough, played without confidence and made too many basic errors. It was a lot better after the break, though we failed to create enough chances."

Hofmann concurred with Flick's assessment, and vowed to not let a first loss since last year's last16 exit at Euro 2020 to England throw them off-balance.

"Tonight just wasn’t good enough," he added. "This defeat will not be the end of the world for us, of course it’s frustrating tonight, but we won’t let it get us down."

Germany will return to the scene of their last loss when they face England - already relegated to the B tier of the Nations League after a miserable post-Euros campaign - at Wembley Stadium on September 26.

Roberto Mancini praised Italy's new generation following a 1-0 victory over England in the Nations League.

Giacomo Raspadori's strike at San Siro condemned the Three Lions to relegation to League B, while Italy will face off against Hungary on Monday to decide who will advance to the Nations League finals.

Having failed to qualify for the World Cup in Qatar, Mancini has looked to younger players for the future as the likes of 22-year-old Raspadori have made an impression for the European champions and hailed the displays of his young guns.

"We rebooted in June and were always in the running in this Nations League group. Clearly, we need these games, these wins, so we can grow," he said.

"I expected a good performance and knew it would be difficult, because many of tonight's lads are inexperienced at this level, with not even 30 per cent of England's caps, but I think we won deservedly."

Mancini was then asked why Italy are seemingly more effective when under pressure than in games where they are clear favourites but disagreed that this was the case.

"I don't think we threw anything away, football has an element of luck to it. We won the Euros on penalties, we deserved to win it, then failed to qualify for the World Cup after two games we dominated and did not win against Switzerland," he explained.

"We made mistakes too, that is obvious. I don't know if today was our best performance of the Nations League, we did well against Hungary and Germany too."

As for England, Mancini remains confident that Gareth Southgate's side can be contenders at the World Cup in Qatar and played down the significance of relegation from the Nations League.

"It's always satisfying to beat England, but especially after the difficult time we've had recently, it takes a little pressure off and that is important," he added.

"In my opinion, England are one of the best teams in the world and will have a good chance at the tournament. I don't think they will care too much about the relegation."

England manager Gareth Southgate insisted there were "a lot of positives" in the Three Lions' 1-0 defeat to Italy on Friday.

Giacomo Raspadori struck the only goal of the game to condemn England to equal their worst winless streak since 2014, and also resulted in relegation to League B of the Nations League.

It marked another game without a goal for England, who are now 495 minutes without scoring from open play, and have just 90 minutes of football against Germany on Monday before the World Cup.

However, despite receiving boos from the travelling supporters at San Siro, Southgate remains positive and suggested England were the better team.

"It's difficult for me to be too critical of the performance. We had more possession, more shots, more shots on target," he said.

"For large parts of the game we played very well. We didn't deal with the decisive moment defensively. We had moments where we had the chance to be decisive in their final third, [but] our quality wasn't quite right.

Luis Enrique is "optimistic about what lies ahead" as Spain prepare to try and win Group A2 in the Nations League.

La Roja host Switzerland on Saturday knowing a win will secure top spot for them if Portugal lose to the Czech Republic.

Should they not seal it this weekend, Spain will have a second chance to do so when they travel to face Portugal in their final Nations League group game on Tuesday.

Speaking at a press conference on Friday, Luis Enrique was boosted by what he had seen in training from his squad, including first-time call-ups Borja Iglesias and Nico Williams.

"It has been the best week of training for the players since I became a coach," he said. "Even Borja and Nico, making their debuts.

"I am optimistic about what lies ahead. A brutal week, even those who play little have the level to compete."

The former Barcelona boss was refusing to look ahead to the clash with Portugal before facing the Swiss.

"Even losing [to Switzerland], if we beat Portugal, We'll be through," he said. "But that doesn't mean we'll speculate. The next one is the most important game.

"The good thing about the Nations League is that all the teams have something at stake. If Switzerland don't get more points, they will [be relegated to League B]. 

"Good players can play together like [Alvaro] Morata and Borja. We will not change the way any player plays and everyone has assimilated to our way of working."

Luis Enrique was also asked about the situation with the Spain women's team, with 15 players having said they do not want to play under current head coach Jorge Vilda.

Ballon d'Or winner and Barcelona superstar Alexia Putellas effectively joined the rebellion on Friday, posting a statement from the disenchanted group.

"It is a totally abnormal situation, and difficult to manage," Luis Enrique said on the matter. "But I have not the slightest doubt that the [Spanish Football] Federation will manage it in the best possible way. There are many factors."

England midfielder Declan Rice has called for calm after defeat to Italy extended the Three Lions' winless streak to five games.

Giacomo Raspadori's strike at San Siro condemned Gareth Southgate's side to relegation to League B in the Nations League and marked England's longest run without a win in competitive matches since October 1992.

With just 90 minutes of football and 56 days until the World Cup campaign in Qatar begins against Iran, concern is rising, but Rice has promised there will be improvements.

"It's obviously disappointing. Every tournament we go into, we set out to win," he told Channel 4 after the loss.

"In the Nations League we have slipped below our standards, but I didn't think it was all bad tonight.

"It's coming. It was a much better performance tonight than we saw in the summer.

"It's not that we're not creating the chances. I see it in training. There are goals for fun. Trust me, we are going to be good."

England's drop in form has come alongside a barren run in front of goal, having gone 495 minutes without a goal in open play – the last being Raheem Sterling's strike in a friendly against the Ivory Coast in March.

Southgate's side face Germany at Wembley on Monday to bring an end to a disappointing Nations League campaign, before the countdown to the World Cup truly begins.

England suffered relegation to League B in the Nations League after a 1-0 defeat to Italy at San Siro, a result which also equalled their worst run of form in eight years.

Giacomo Raspadori curled home the only meaningful attempt of the game for the hosts, capitalising on sloppy defending from Kyle Walker, who provided too much space for the Napoli man.

Italy's win was only their third in 10 matches, though the performance did little to ease concerns around Roberto Mancini's side.

It is England who face more immediate problems, though, with just 90 minutes of football left before the World Cup begins, and Gareth Southgate's men looked far from ready here.

A lacklustre first half saw both sides crippled by an inability to create any sort of threat in the final third, with neither Nick Pope nor Gianluigi Donnarumma called into action as play was limited to scrappy exchanges in midfield.

The early exchanges of the second half did not change much but Italy took the lead with their first meaningful chance of note, Raspadori collecting Leonardo Bonucci's long pump forward and given time to turn, before curling into the far corner beyond Pope's reach.

England's introduction of Jack Grealish and Luke Shaw after conceding, which finally gave the Three Lions a natural left-sided defender having started Bukayo Saka out of position, did not change the pattern of the game.

Harry Kane saw two shots saved by Donnarumma, though neither was particularly threatening, with Italy looking the more likely to extend their lead as Federico Dimarco struck the frame of the goal.

Jude Bellingham headed a late chance over the bar deep into stoppage time as England's fate was sealed on the final whistle.

What does it mean? World Cup worries for England

The mid-season fall of the World Cup in Qatar means no pre-tournament friendlies for the teams competing, giving England just 90 minutes of football before the opening group game against Iran, who beat Uruguay 1-0 earlier on Friday in a friendly.

Now five games without a win and 495 minutes without a goal from open play, Southgate is under intense scrutiny and his team selection continues to baffle – Saka starting at left wing-back, far from his natural position on the right wing.

While a lack of goals will always be concerning, the inability to even create opportunities despite an array of attacking options is a problem without an easy fix.

Raspadori's return

Raspadori's winning strike against England was his fourth in an Italy shirt since making his debut in June 2021, level with Nicolo Barella and with no player within Roberto Mancini's squad having scored more.

Italy's absence from the World Cup remains a bitter pill to swallow but Raspadori is already showing he can be a key player in the defence of the European Championship title in 2024.

Southgate's sorrows compounded

England's woes against Italy in front of goal were not a new occasion, the Three Lions having failed to score from open play in five games in the Nations League, having only scored from the penalty spot – an unwanted record they share with minnows San Marino.

With just 56 days before the World Cup, Southgate received boos from the travelling contingent at San Siro and requires a massive upturn in form if England are to equal their exploits in last year's European Championship.

What's next?

England's Nations League campaign comes to a close against Germany at Wembley on Monday, where Italy will face Hungary to decide the group winner.

Adam Szalai's sublime finish kept Hungary on course for the Nations League Finals as they beat Germany 1-0 in Leipzig.

Captain Szalai struck almost midway through the first half on Friday to give his side an impressive victory that keeps them two points clear at the top of Group A3.

Marco Rossi's side will qualify for next year's Finals if they avoid defeat at home to Italy on Monday, with the European champions having beaten England 1-0 at San Siro.

It was another memorable evening for Hungary at the Red Bull Arena, while Hansi Flick will be left to rue a night to forget with the World Cup looming.

From the first whistle, Hungary showed a proactive intent, tackling their hosts head-on with great intensity, and their approach was rewarded when Germany were caught napping from a corner 17 minutes in.

Few appeared to expect Szalai's to attack the near the edge of the six-yard box, and the forward's delightful flick to convert Dominik Szoboszlai’s delivery sailed beyond Marc-Andre ter Stegen's grasp and into the far corner of the net for a worthy lead.

Germany thought they had equalised through Thomas Muller's strike shortly after the restart, but the goal was ruled out as Jonas Hoffman was offside. 

That was as close as Flick's side came to salvaging a point as Hungary held on to keep their fate in their own hands heading into a decisive final group game.

England suffered relegation to League B in the Nations League after a 1-0 defeat to Italy, a result which also equalled their worst run of form in eight years.

Giacomo Raspadori curled home the only meaningful attempt of the game for the hosts, capitalising on sloppy defending from Kyle Walker, who provided too much space for the Napoli man.

Italy's win was only their third in 10 matches and the performance did little to ease concerns around Roberto Mancini's side.

It is England who face more immediate problems, though, with just 90 minutes of football left before the World Cup begins, and Gareth Southgate's men looked far from ready here.

A lacklustre first half saw both sides crippled by an inability to create any sort of threat in the final third, with neither Nick Pope nor Gianluigi Donnarumma called into action as play was limited to scrappy exchanges in midfield.

The early exchanges of the second half did not change much but Italy took the lead with their first meaningful chance of note, Raspadori collecting Leonardo Bonucci's long pump forward and given time to turn, before curling into the far corner beyond Pope's reach.

England's introduction of Jack Grealish and Luke Shaw after conceding, which finally gave the Three Lions a natural left-sided defender having started Bukayo Saka out of position, did not change the pattern of the game.

Harry Kane saw two shots saved by Donnarumma, though neither was particularly threatening, with Italy looking the more likely to extend their lead as Federico Dimarco struck the frame of the goal.

Jude Bellingham headed a late chance over the bar deep into stoppage time as England's fate was sealed on the final whistle.

Ciro Immobile joined Italy's injury list ahead of Friday's Nations League encounter with England.

The Lazio striker has suffered a muscle injury and was not included in the Azzurri's squad list for the game at San Siro.

Midfielder Sandro Tonali left the European champions' training camp on the day of the match as he has not recovered from an injury.

Coach Roberto Mancini will also be without the likes of Marco Verratti, Matteo Politano, Lorenzo Pellegrini and Davide Calabria.

Italy will remain in contention for the Nations League Finals if they come out on top in a repeat of last year's Euro 2020 final.

England, bottom of Group 3, will be relegated from League A if they are beaten in Milan.

Virgil van Dijk acknowledges he has not performed to the best of his ability during a frustrating start to the season for Liverpool.  

Liverpool have taken just nine points from their first six matches of the Premier League season, their worst return since Jurgen Klopp took charge in 2015.

Postponements following the death of Queen Elizabeth II mean Liverpool have not played a domestic game since September 3, though they clinched a much-needed Champions League victory over Ajax last time out.

While Van Dijk has been an ever-present for the Reds this season, he has not always lived up to his reputation as steady defensive influence, most notably in a 4-1 thrashing at Napoli.

Speaking after the Netherlands posted a 2-0 Nations League win over Poland on Thursday, Van Dijk admitted he has been disappointed with his own displays.

"I know I could have done better in the beginning of the season. I'm not naive about that. I know very well when I make mistakes," Van Dijk said.

"I also know that I am one of the important players at the club and of course also here at the national team. I feel that responsibility.

"Mentally it's a challenge. You feel a lot of pressure on your head. A lot of people forget that too, it's not easy to do that. 

"We all try to show our best and if, in my case, you are one of the mainstays at the club, then you get the criticism you deserve. You have to deal with that and that is not always easy. But I did that just fine."

The Netherlands conclude their Nations League campaign against Belgium on Sunday, with Louis van Gaal's team needing to avoid defeat if they are to secure top spot in Group A4.

Kylian Mbappe has "a lot more freedom" playing for France alongside a traditional striker compared to at Paris Saint-Germain, where he is flanked by Lionel Messi and Neymar.

The 23-year-old opened the scoring in Thursday's 2-0 win over Austria as France picked up their first Nations League win of the campaign at the fifth attempt.

Mbappe, who had an early strike ruled out for offside, was played in by a perfect Olivier Giroud pass and blasted in his 28th international goal in 58 appearances.

He led the way for shots (seven), shots on target (three) and touches in the opposition box (10), while no player created more chances than the PSG forward's three.

After producing an all-action display alongside Giroud, who became France's oldest goalscorer with his second-half header, Mbappe said he is enjoying playing in the system.

"I play differently for France. I am asked other things here compared to my club," he told reporters. "I have a lot more freedom here.

"The coach knows there is a number nine in the side like Olivier who can occupy defences while I walk around and go into space.

"In Paris it's different – you don't have that. I am asked to play as a pivot, which is different."

Asked if he enjoys playing in this France side more than alongside the likes of Neymar and Messi at PSG, Mbappe smiled and said: "I take pleasure everywhere I play."

France had been at serious threat of relegation to the second tier, but they are now one point better off than bottom side Austria ahead of Sunday's trip to Denmark.

Les Bleus have been hit by further injury withdrawals ahead of that match, with Jules Kounde and Mike Maignan the latest to pull out of the squad on Friday.

Deschamps still has plenty of options to call upon in each position for the contest in Copenhagen, where Mbappe is ready to start once again.

"I hope I will play on Sunday," he said. "I am always ready to play, whether for club or country. The coach says there will be rotation, so we'll see how it goes."

Jules Kounde and Mike Maignan have withdrawn from France's squad for their trip to Denmark after sustaining injuries, leading Didier Deschamps to call up Rennes' Steve Mandanda.

Goals from Kylian Mbappe and Olivier Giroud ensured France picked up the first win of their Nations League campaign against Austria on Thursday, but their injury crisis worsened at the Stade de France.

Deschamps' team were already without Karim Benzema, Kingsley Coman, N'Golo Kante, Paul Pogba and others for their final Nations League fixtures, and Juventus midfielder Pogba is a doubt for the World Cup after undergoing knee surgery.

They were further depleted when Barcelona new boy Kounde was withdrawn after 23 minutes against Austria, and it has now been revealed Maignan was in pain before his own half-time exit.

A statement issued by the French Football Federation on Friday read: "Mike Maignan had to give up his place to Alphonse Areola at half-time in France-Austria on Thursday evening at the Stade de France, due to pain felt in the left calf.

"The Milan goalkeeper will not be able to play against Denmark on Sunday in Copenhagen. To replace him, Didier Deschamps called on Steve Mandanda. 

"Maignan will leave the group during the day, as will Jules Kounde, who is suffering from a left hamstring injury. Both players will take exams in the morning before being released to their club.

"Kounde will not be replaced in the group that will arrive in Copenhagen on Saturday."

Mandanda has won 34 senior caps since making his France debut in 2008, and was part of the squad which won the 2018 World Cup in Russia. 

France could still be relegated from the top tier of the Nations League and cannot progress to the competition's finals, with Croatia and Denmark locked in a battle for top spot in Group A1.

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