Didier Deschamps is optimistic Paul Pogba will be fit to feature at the World Cup next month, amid reports the midfielder is set to return to training with Juventus.

Pogba has yet to make a competitive appearance for the Bianconeri since returning from Manchester United in July, and is a doubt for the tournament in Qatar after undergoing surgery to solve a lesion to the lateral meniscus in his right knee.

The 2018 World Cup winner initially opted to treat the injury with conservative therapy, which his doctor Roberto Rossi subsequently said had worsened his condition. 

On Tuesday, with little over a month to go before France's Group D opener against Australia, Italian media reports suggested Pogba's return to Juventus training was imminent. 

Speaking after attending Monday's Ballon d'Or ceremony in Paris, Deschamps told Sport Mediaset he was upbeat concerning the midfielder's progress, saying: "His programme is going well. 

"The important thing is that he is cured, I think he will be, and this is already a good thing.

"Then there will be the question whether he looks athletic, since he hasn't played for a long time. 

"But I repeat, before thinking about whether I call him up, he must be healed."

Pogba has won 91 caps and hit 11 goals for France since making his international debut in 2013, and scored Les Bleus' third goal in their 4-2 win over Croatia in the 2018 World Cup final.

Meanwhile, Deschamps saw another of his France stars crowned the best player in the world on Monday, as Karim Benzema won the Ballon d'Or for the first time in his career.

Asked about Benzema's triumph, Deschamps added: "He deserves it. It is an important thing for all of French football, that of the national team and the clubs."

Karim Benzema said he had realised a childhood dream by winning the Ballon d'Or for the first time on Monday.

The Real Madrid captain was rewarded for an outstanding 2021-22 campaign when he was named the best player in the world at the Theatre du Chatelet in Paris.

Benzema scored an astonishing 44 goals in 46 games as Madrid accomplished a LaLiga and Champions League double under Carlo Ancelotti last season.

The France striker, who turns 35 in December, became the oldest Ballon d'Or winner since the great Stanley Matthews way back in 1956.

Benzema was presented with the award by his former Madrid head coach Zinedine Zidane, who had been the last French player to win in 1998, on a special evening in his homeland.

He said: "Seeing this award in front of me makes me really proud of the work I have done. It was childhood dream, to have the motivation... I had two role models, Zidane and Ronaldo [the Brazil legend], and always I had this dream in my mind that anything is possible.

"There was a difficult period where I wasn't in the French team, but I never stopped working hard or gave up.

"Really proud of my journey here. It wasn't easy, it was difficult. To be here today for the first time, I am happy, pleased for my work and want to keep going.

"I want to thank all my team-mates at Real Madrid and France and my coach and the Real Madrid president, who is here this evening, and also the support of Jean-Michel Aulas [Lyon president].

"There are a lot of people to thank. It is an individual prize but still a collective one because of everyone who played a role in it."

Bayern Munich's former Liverpool forward Sadio Mane was the runner-up, with Manchester City midfielder Kevin De Bruyne third and Robert Lewandowski fourth after an outstanding final season for Bayern Munich before joining Barcelona.

Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah was ranked fifth and Paris Saint-Germain's prolific France international Kylian Mbappe only sixth.

Benzema added: "Age is just a number for me. People play until their later years now, and I still have this burning desire.

"It is this drive that has kept me going and never allowed me to let up. It kept this dream alive and was the fire behind me. I just want to make the most if it."

Perhaps there's something in the notion of a lucky Shamrock. Thirteen years on from making his Real Madrid debut in a friendly against Shamrock Rovers, Karim Benzema is the world player of the year, a richly deserving winner of the Ballon d'Or.

It was Cristiano Ronaldo who topped the bill at a jam-packed Tallaght Stadium in July 2009, having joined Madrid from Manchester United, but substitute Benzema was the matchwinner that night, a late goal delivering a 1-0 victory for Los Blancos.

He kept winning, and winning some more, even when others took the spotlight, but the winning has been almost unrelenting. And that has been the theme of his career.

Benzema had won four Ligue 1 titles with Lyon before, at the age of just 21, he earned himself a move to Madrid, where he has won five Champions League titles, four LaLiga crowns, four FIFA Club World Cups, four European Super Cups, four Spanish Supercopas, and two Copa del Rey winner's medals.

Now 34-year-old Benzema is harvesting the personal acclaim, having long played the patient consort to the garlanded Ronaldo and, even, Gareth Bale.

As he ascends to this particular throne, Stats Perform has looked at how Benzema reached such a high point, and what the Ballon d'Or result means in wider terms.

 

Brilliant Benz merks his rivals

This time it had to be him. The Karim of the crop. Last year, it was hard to distinguish what was more embarrassing: the constant campaigning for Benzema to take the Ballon d'Or by Real Madrid luminaries past and present, or the fact Lionel Messi took the prize again, ahead of Robert Lewandowski.

Messi's seventh Ballon d'Or felt like a long-service award. Benzema's triumph is both that, and a reflection of the greatest season of his career.

The Ballon d'Or rules shifted this year, with the time span set from August 1, 2021, to July 31, 2022, rather than the calendar year.

In that time, Benzema, more often than not as captain, hit 44 goals in 46 games, with his shot conversion rate at a career high of 24.18 per cent.

He scored 27 of those goals in 32 LaLiga games to earn his first Pichichi – the award that goes to the league's leading scorer – and in doing so led Madrid to the title.

Messi won the Pichichi eight times, while Ronaldo took it on three occasions, with Luis Suarez (2015-16) the only other player to lay his hands on the trophy in the seasons from 2009-10 to 2020-21.

Benzema's league goals came at a rate of one every 96.15 minutes, which he has bettered only once in Spain (2015-16: 24 goals in 27 games, one goal every 83.04 minutes). Significantly, he was a provider in the league too, weighing in with a career-best 12 assists.

His 15 Champions League goals in Madrid's glorious campaign came from 12 games, at one goal every 73.73 minutes. He vastly surpassed his expected goals tally of 8.2, the metric that reflects the quality of a player's chances and likelihood of scoring.

He has made a career of exceeding expectations. When he made a €35million switch from Lyon all those years ago, not even Benzema could have imagined he would be peaking in his mid-thirties.

Benzema also drew level with Raul's haul of 323 goals for Madrid last season, going joint-second on the club's all-time list, behind only Ronaldo (450).

Second place has since become Benzema's outright, with the goals still coming. He probably won't catch Ronaldo, but he might not be far behind.

No longer a young man's game?

With Benzema landing the award just two months before he turns 35, it is another example of the younger generation not yet doing enough to challenge the old guard.

The last player aged under 30 to win the Ballon d'Or was Messi, who took the 2015 award.

Kylian Mbappe might have been a reasonable shout this time around, if Paris Saint-Germain had not perished against Madrid and Benzema in last season's Champions League, but the other serious challengers were on the top side of 30: the likes of Lewandowski, Kevin De Bruyne, Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane.

Next year is likely to be a different story, with Mbappe and Manchester City's Erling Haaland surely pushing for the trophy. The World Cup could also be impactful on the 2022-23 vote, and Qatar 2022 might yet bring Benzema more glory with France.

End of an era as the GOATs go out to pasture

This year's 1-2-3 was conspicuously lacking in GOATs. Neither Messi nor Ronaldo made the podium, which is the first time that has occurred in Ballon d'Or voting since the 2006 awards.

In fact, there have been 11 occasions when both have been in the top three, such has been their preeminence.

Messi has had 13 podium finishes and seven wins, just edging Ronaldo's 12 podiums and five awards.

Four of Ronaldo's awards came while a team-mate of Benzema at Madrid. While the Portugal great made the shortlist this time around, finishing 20th, Messi did not, and it might be a stretch to expect either man to threaten a top-three result again.

The France 2023 Rugby World Cup chief executive Claude Atcher has been dismissed after an investigation into workplace malpractice.

Atcher, who also helped previously secure hosting rights for the 2007 edition, was suspended in August following allegations made over his management style in a L'Equipe article in June.

According to the report, Atcher's approach led to some employees suffering panic attacks.

An investigation by the French Labour Inspectorate has since concluded, with the decision made by the varying bodies behind the France 2023 bid to dismiss Atcher.

"Following this Board meeting, Mr Claude Atcher’s suspension was unanimously ratified by France 2023's founding members: the Fédération Française de Rugby (FFR), the French State, and the French National Olympic and Sports Committee (CNOSF)," read an official statement issued on Tuesday.

"Taking note of the report's conclusions, France 2023's Board of Directors has decided to terminate the contract of its CEO, Mr Claude Atcher."

Julien Collette, Atcher's former deputy general director, has been appointed as his replacement.

France will kick off next year's tournament on September 8 against New Zealand, with Les Bleus out to claim their first title after reaching the final on three previous occasions, most recently in 2011.

England have the opportunity to gain a measure of revenge on Italy for their Euro 2020 final defeat after the two nations were drawn together in Euro 2024 qualifying.

Italy beat England 3-2 on penalties after a 1-1 draw at Wembley in London on July 11, 2021 to win their first European Championship title since 1968.

Gareth Southgate's Three Lions had opened the scoring through Luke Shaw, but the Azzurri levelled via Leonardo Bonucci.

And spot-kick misses by Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka proved costly for England, who had hoped to win a first major title in 55 years.

The two will tussle again – twice – on the road to Germany 2024 after being drawn together in qualifying Group C in Sunday's ceremony, which was held in Frankfurt.

Nevertheless, both teams will still expect to reach the finals given the top two in each group progress to the tournament - joining them will be Ukraine, North Macedonia and Malta.

It was North Macedonia who knocked Italy out of the World Cup qualifying play-offs earlier this year.

Group B is another standout after the Netherlands were drawn alongside reigning world champions France in a pool that also contains Republic of Ireland, Greece and Gibraltar.

Spain will be confident of plotting a way through Group A, which also contains Scotland, Norway, Georgia and Cyprus, though Belgium may face a slightly sterner examination after being grouped with Austria, Sweden, Azerbaijan and Estonia.

Qualifying is set to begin in March 2023 and conclude eight months later, with the winners and runners-up of each group going straight through to the tournament.

The remaining three teams will be decided in March 2024 via a play-off section, which will be made up of 12 group winners from the 2022-23 Nations League.

If a Nations League section winner has already qualified for Euro 2024, their play-off place will pass to the next best-ranked country from the same league.


Draw in full:

Group A: Spain, Scotland, Norway, Georgia, Cyprus
Group B: Netherlands, France, Republic of Ireland, Greece, Gibraltar
Group C: Italy, England, Ukraine, North Macedonia, Malta
Group D: Croatia, Wales, Armenia, Turkey, Latvia
Group E: Poland, Czech Republic, Albania, Faroe Islands, Moldova
Group F: Belgium, Austria, Sweden, Azerbaijan, Estonia
Group G: Hungary, Serbia, Montenegro, Bulgaria, Lithuania
Group H: Denmark, Finland, Slovenia, Kazakhstan, Northern Ireland, San Marino
Group I: Switzerland, Israel, Romania, Kosovo, Belarus, Andorra
Group J: Portugal, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Iceland, Luxembourg, Slovakia, Liechtenstein

Brazil will be the number one side in the world when the Qatar 2022 World Cup starts next month, after strengthening their lead in the FIFA rankings.

The Selecao head into this year's tournament looking to break a two-decade hold by European nations on the sport's top prize, having been the last country from outside the continent to triumph at the South Korea and Japan 2002 finals.

Tite's side have slightly stretched their points advantage above second-placed Belgium, whom they displaced atop the list in March.

Brazil and Belgium head up an unchanged top five, with Argentina remaining at number three, World Cup holders France at four and England – who have endured a dismal 2022 – in fifth place.

The Three Lions will top the strongest group at Qatar 2022, Group B, when taken on points, with fellow nations the United States, Wales and Iran all ranked inside the top 20.

Italy, who are the highest-ranked nation not qualified for the World Cup, have forced the only move inside the FIFA top 10 as they head to sixth from seventh in a straight swap with Spain.

The Netherlands, Portugal and Denmark round out the top 10, with Germany just beyond them at number 11, ahead of 2018 World Cup finalists Croatia.

The lowest-ranked side at this year's tournament will be Ghana, who sit at 61st on the FIFA list, while hosts Qatar are in 50th place.

Aurelien Tchouameni has dismissed talk of him being the new Paul Pogba and explained why he turned down Paris Saint-Germain to join Real Madrid.

Tchouameni has emerged as another big French talent, prompting Madrid to lure him to Santiago Bernabeu from Monaco for a fee of €80million that could rise to €100m in June.

PSG are among the top European clubs who were also eager to land the midfielder, but he had already agreed to sign for the European champions.

Tchouameni has been likened to France team-mate Pogba, but the 22-year-old does not want to hear those comparisons after making a name for himself.

He told Telefoot: "I am not the new Pogba, I am Aurelien Tchouameni, I try to write my own story. Pogba is a player I followed a lot when he was little and whom I follow a lot. We play in the same position, but there is only one Pogba."

Tchouameni revealed he had no intention of staying in his homeland with PSG after giving Madrid his word that he would move to the Spanish capital.

He added: "No, no, I didn't hesitate with PSG. It is also a very big European club, but I had already decided to play for Real Madrid."

Tchouameni has fierce competition for a place in the Madrid midfield and knows he must grasp his opportunities.

"No matter the price of the transfer, at this club there is always pressure," he said. "But I'm trying to live up to expectations, to do what I can do on the pitch and so far it's going quite well.

"It was not me who was in the office to give the numbers of my signing. So whether it's 80 [million Euros], 60, 40... in the end, when you arrive in Madrid and you're a starter, you always have to perform."

Pogba hopes he will be a starter when Les Bleus attempt to retain the World Cup in Qatar.

He said: "I try to contribute to the team, then if [N'Golo] Kante and Pogba return, the coach will be the one I choose and I will always do my best to be the starter.

"I think about the World Cup every day. I'll try to win points with Real Madrid and then we'll wait for the list."

France boss Didier Deschamps insisted his side are far from "a shipwreck" after losing 2-0 to Denmark in their final game before heading to Qatar 2022.

Les Bleus will head into their World Cup trophy defence in November on the back of a poor Nations League campaign that saw them limp home third in Group A1.

Three losses in competitive matches since March means France have already matched their worst-ever record in that regard for a calendar year.

Having been tipped as strong contenders to be world champions again, France's second loss to the Danes in 2022 – ahead of a Group D battle between the teams in Qatar – has set off alarm bells among supporters.

Deschamps, who guided the team to glory at Russia 2018, has pushed back against suggestions his side are in crisis, pointing to both his decision to field a younger side and comparing France's form to other major rivals struggling for results.

"I don't think it's a shipwreck," he told TF1. "We had a lot of chances. We were weak, we made errors when playing out from the back.

"It is a young French side, which in the most part doesn't have players with experience at the very highest level. It is not a question of systems.

"We mustn't worry. Having the players with international experience back will do us good. There's no worrying. It's difficult for everyone.

"Yesterday, I was watching other games. There are other big teams losing as well. We shouldn't think of ourselves as better than them. We are going to have to fight."

Deschamps added: "I'm not going to darken the situation any further. This is a reminder of what will be waiting for us in two months."

Kylian Mbappe struggled in parts against Denmark, and looked to be nursing a minor knock at one point, but Deschamps was quick to assure that he is unconcerned about the Paris Saint-Germain forward's game.

"Kylian has done a lot of good things. He's also one of the few players to have played 90 minutes twice in three days," Deschamps said.

"He cannot do everything. He was more decisive three days ago, yes, but like the whole team, I am not worried about Kylian."

Denmark threw down a gauntlet for the Qatar 2022 World Cup with a 2-0 win over France, only to narrowly miss out on the Nations League Finals.

First-half goals for Kasper Dolberg and Andreas Skov Olsen put the Danes firmly in the frame to reach next year's final four, only for rivals Croatia to net twice in the second half to beat Austria and finish top of Group A1.

Nevertheless, an assured victory over World Cup holders France in Copenhagen offered a sharp reminder of Denmark's dark horse credentials for Qatar, after also reaching the Euro 2020 semi-finals.

Austria's defeat ensured Les Bleus dodged relegation to the second tier, but for Didier Deschamps, alarm bells may be ringing after a lacklustre campaign.

With the risk of the drop breathing down their necks, it was the visitors who started sharpest, with Kylian Mbappe and Antoine Griezmann delivering early tests for Kasper Schmeichel.

Yet Denmark steadily gained ground, and when Dolberg lunged by the left post to meet Mikkel Damsgaard's cross and bobble a finish over Alphonse Areola in the 34th minute, their lead was not an unworthy one.

Olsen's rocket of a volley through a crowded box after a poorly fielded corner was a fine finish too, five minutes later, and it was France who went into the sheds on the back foot.

Attempts to fight back after the interval were frequent, if speculative, with Mbappe almost catching Schmeichel out twice, but Denmark's game management proved too shrewd to be broken, seeing them through for a famous win.

Bayern Munich defender Benjamin Pavard has opened up on how he experienced depression during the coronavirus lockdown.

The France international explained in an interview with newspaper Le Parisien that isolation became a heavy burden and he sorely missed normal social contact.

Pavard, now 26, was in his first season with Bayern when the COVID-19 pandemic took hold, having joined from Bundesliga rivals Stuttgart.

When players went into isolation in late March of 2020, Pavard said it became a challenge to stay positive.

He said: "It was difficult for everyone, for me too. To be alone, in a country other than mine, I was really not well. In my head, something was wrong.

"At the beginning, you tell yourself that it's nothing, that it will pass, but when you see that it persists, that you go to training and that you don't have a smile on your face, you have to react."

The Bundesliga became the first major league in Europe to resume, as it started up again in mid-May 2020, albeit behind closed doors.

Pavard sought and found support to help him through the trying times.

He said: "I am human like everyone else, and even if I have a super nice house with a weight room, I needed contact with others.

"I got up, I had no appetite. I tried to keep busy, to cook, to watch series. But Netflix is ​​fine for two minutes… I don't like the word depressive, but that was the case."

The former Lille player explained that he turned a corner and now feels "much better".

“I came out of all this as a man, it changed me," he said. "I was on my own like many football players and I had to surround myself well to raise my head. I managed to bounce back from difficult times."

Didier Deschamps has called on Paris Saint-Germain head coach Christophe Galtier to let Kylian Mbappe "breathe a little bit" by resting the forward ahead of France's World Cup bid.

Mbappe has started all nine of PSG's Ligue 1 and Champions League matches this season, scoring 10 times.

The 23-year-old also played 90 minutes of France's 2-0 Nations League win over Austria on Thursday when opening the scoring before Olivier Giroud killed off the contest.

PSG have 11 matches to play before France head to Qatar, but Deschamps is hoping Mbappe is not used in all of those games.

"I know [Galtier] still wants to play Kylian. But from time to time, he needs to be able to breathe a little bit," Deschamps told Telefoot. 

"He needs to play a few minutes less. It won't hurt him – quite the contrary."

Mbappe led the way for shots (seven), shots on target (three) and touches in the opposition box (10) against Austria, while no player created more chances (three).

After registering his 28th international goal in 58 caps, Mbappe admitted he felt "a lot more freedom" playing alongside fellow scorer Giroud than he does for club side PSG.

While Mbappe's World Cup spot is all but guaranteed, Giroud faces uncertainty over his position in the squad once Karim Benzema is back from injury.

Asked if he plans on naming Giroud in his travelling party for the World Cup, Deschamps said: "If I knew that... All I know is he is doing everything he can to be there."

France boss Didier Deschamps could be without Ousmane Dembele for Sunday's Nations League clash with Denmark after the Barcelona winger reported a calf problem.

The game in Copenhagen will see Deschamps make a number of changes, with the trip coming just two months before the teams meet again in the World Cup group stage.

France are eager to get the win, as that would guarantee they avoid relegation from the top tier of the Nations League, but Deschamps will not push anyone into playing.

"Ousmane felt discomfort in a calf and will train separately," said Deschamps on Saturday evening.

"We will review after the session. I will make changes, but I won't decide tonight. I will wait for the medical return and the feelings of the players. There will be changes, but I won't tell you how many."

France and Denmark will be joined in Group D at Qatar 2022 by Australia and Tunisia, and they are due to go head-to-head on November 26 in the second round of games.

Denmark got the better of Deschamps' side at the Stade de France in June in their first Nations League encounter, with Andreas Cornelius hitting a double after Karim Benzema had put the hosts ahead.

According to Deschamps, there will be little to be gained on Sunday with a view to the World Cup game, though.

"The only advantage is for players who are there and who will have the possibility of starting or coming on," he said. "I'm not going to get any particular benefit from it otherwise.

"In Qatar, it will be another game, but the teams will know each other well, that's true."

With Milan goalkeeper Mike Maignan coming off injured in the 2-0 win against Austria on Thursday, West Ham's Alphonse Areola has got the nod to start against the Danes.

Areola came into the fray for the second half against Austria, with first choice Huge Lloris out through injury.

The 29-year-old former Paris Saint-Germain stopper has made five appearances for West Ham this season, albeit with four of those coming in the Europa Conference League and just one in the Premier League.

"He will start," Deschamps said. "I see goalkeepers starting in the national team and not in the club. Alphonse has been more or less a starter. Every time he plays, he performs well. Alphonse is there because he has quality."

Roger Federer "made the whole world dream" through his tennis, French football great Zinedine Zidane said on Saturday.

The Swiss superstar contested his final match on Friday night in London, as he bowed out at the age of 41, accepting knee trouble in recent years would not allow him to carry on.

Zidane's last match as a player famously ended in a headbutt, a red card and crushing disappointment in the 2006 World Cup final, as France lost out to Italy on penalties in Berlin.

That was a far cry from the celebratory scenes at the O2 where 20-time grand slam winner Federer exited in a hail of adulation and high emotion, as the man from Basle broke down in a flood of tears on court.

The poignancy came after Federer lost alongside Rafael Nadal in a Laver Cup doubles clash with Jack Sock and Frances Tiafoe, a low-stakes occasion compared to Zidane's swan song.

Both Zidane and Federer played their sport with maverick and artistic tendencies that set them apart from many of their peers, while also winning a stack of trophies.

Zidane had two spells as Real Madrid boss after hanging up his boots following a playing spell at the Santiago Bernabeu, and he hopes there are great opportunities awaiting Federer too.

"Today you are stepping into another world. I wish you a second part of life as rich as the first," Zidane wrote on Instagram.

"Thank you Roger, you made the whole world dream! And you remained profoundly the same. Thank you Roger, the great class."

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.

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."

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