Manchester United defender Raphael Varane has hit out at the “damaging” new guidelines on added time and conduct for this season’s Premier League and asked why players’ opinions are not being heard.

Competitions around the world have been instructed to more accurately calculate time lost to stoppages this season, including goal celebrations and VAR checks.

Arsenal equalised in the 11th of 13 added minutes at the end of Sunday’s Community Shield against Manchester City and went on to win on penalties.

The game’s lawmakers, the International Football Association Board, said in March that the approach to calculating added time was “positively received” when it was first tested at the men’s World Cup in Qatar last year and would be rolled out worldwide.

However, Varane says the changes have been brought in “despite our previous feedback” and are placing too much pressure on players.

He tweeted on Monday morning: “We had a meeting last week with the FA. They recommended from the referees new decisions and rules.

“From the managers and players, we have shared our concerns for many years now that there are too many games, the schedule is overcrowded, and it’s at a dangerous level for players’ physical and mental well-being.

“Despite our previous feedbacks, they have now recommended for next season: longer games, more intensity, and less emotions to be shown by players. We just want to be in good condition on the pitch to give 100 per cent to our club and fans. Why are our opinions not being heard?”

Varane retired from international football at the age of 29 earlier this year, likening the slog of the top-level game to being in a washing machine.

The new guidelines on added time have been introduced to tackle timewasting and increase effective playing time.

FIFA found 10 minutes and 11 seconds of added time were played on average in Qatar, an increase on the average for the previous World Cup finals in Russia, but also found effective playing time was up in Qatar by more than four minutes compared to Russia.

However, the impact of the extra added time on players over a sustained period has already been highlighted by their global union FIFPRO, which reported earlier this year that the changes would amount to the equivalent of up to three extra games per season for players with the highest existing workloads.

“As a player I feel very privileged to do the job I love every day but I feel these changes are damaging our game,” Varane added.

“We want to be at our maximum level, the best we can be and put on amazing performances for fans to celebrate every week.

“I believe it is important that we, players and managers, highlight these important issues as we want to protect the game we love and give the fans our best.”

Varane’s remark about “less emotions to be shown by players” appeared to be a reference to a new code of conduct designed to improve the behaviour of players, coaches and fans at all levels of the English game announced last week.

It has been launched with the support of all of the football authorities, with the Professional Footballers’ Association understood to have helped shape the new guidance.

Referees will be expected to take a more consistent and tough line when players surround them to challenge decisions. Officials should issue at least a yellow card where two or more players confront them.

Players and coaches who seriously or repeatedly abuse referees could face increased financial penalties from the Football Association, while a tougher line is set to be taken against fans involved in football tragedy abuse.

Manchester United announced they had agreed a deal to sign centre-half Raphael Varane, on this day in 2021.

The French international arrived at Old Trafford on a four-year deal from Real Madrid, ending a 10-year stay at the Bernabeu.

A statement from United read: “Manchester United is delighted to announce the club has reached agreement with Real Madrid for the transfer of French international defender and World Cup winner, Raphael Varane, subject to a medical and to player terms being finalised.”

During his time with Madrid Varane won three LaLiga titles, one Copa del Rey, four UEFA Champions League crowns and four FIFA Club World Cups.

The 2018 World Cup winner’s transfer to United was officially completed on August 14 following a delay due to the need for a visa, isolation and medical.

“Manchester United is one of the most iconic clubs in world football and the chance to come here and play in the Premier League is something I couldn’t turn down,” Varane said.

“There is a lot more that I want to achieve in my career and I know I’m joining a squad full of great players who will all have the same determination to win matches and trophies.”

Varane won his first piece of silverware with United in February 2023, lifting the Carabao Cup after beating Newcastle 2-0.

Manchester City take on arch-rivals Manchester United in the FA Cup final on Saturday.

Here, the PA news agency looks at some key battles ahead of the Wembley encounter.

Pep Guardiola v Erik ten Hag

City manager Guardiola has again underlined his status as the best coach of his generation by guiding his side to a fifth Premier League title in six years and bringing them within two wins of a glorious treble. Ten Hag, who worked alongside the Catalan at Bayern Munich for a spell, cannot match Guardiola’s success but his record at Ajax was impressive and his first season with United has been encouraging, with one trophy and Champions League qualification secured. They have both beaten each other once this season.

Ruben Dias v Marcus Rashford

Portugal defender Dias has been back to his best for City during the run-in. After a spell out around the turn of the year, he has recovered form and fitness to provide a rock-solid barrier at the heart of the defence. He will come up against United’s player of the year Rashford, who has bagged 30 goals in all competitions. The forward’s scoring rate may have slowed after a prolific spell in the winter, but after overcoming a recent illness, he will be United’s main threat.

Rodri v Bruno Fernandes

Rodri has enjoyed his best season for City and is now widely regarded as one of the best midfielders in the world. The Spaniard not only provides a defensive shield, but is a driving force who regularly initiates and supports attacks. Fernandes is an important cog in the United midfield. He finds space well, makes dangerous runs and passes incisively. He is both a creator and goalscorer, and has shown of late he can be as effective on the right as centrally.

Kevin De Bruyne v Casemiro

It is remarkable that De Bruyne was criticised by Guardiola just a few months ago. The Belgian playmaker had been performing well enough but the City boss clearly felt he had another level. So it has proved, with the 31-year-old outstanding in City’s charge to the title and two finals. His partnership with Haaland has been especially potent and Casemiro will aim to keep a close watch. The experienced Brazilian has made a big impact at Old Trafford this season, providing a steeliness and maturity they previously lacked.

Erling Haaland v Raphael Varane

Haaland’s first season at City has been absolutely sensational with 52 goals scored in all competitions and nine assists for good measure. His size, pace and strength make him difficult to contain and, after scoring so many goals this term, he will now want to add some signature trophy-winning ones. Varane will provide a good challenge. The Frenchman reads the game well, is strong on the ball and is quick himself.

Erik ten Hag expects Raphael Varane to return to fitness in time to feature in Manchester United's FA Cup final clash with cross-city rivals Manchester City.

Varane was substituted at half-time after sustaining an ankle injury during the first leg of United's Europa League quarter-final tie against Sevilla, which the Red Devils lost 5-2 on aggregate.

Varane's central defensive partner Lisandro Martinez suffered a season-ending metatarsal fracture in the same game, forcing Ten Hag to use a makeshift backline in recent matches.

With club captain Harry Maguire suspended, Luke Shaw partnered Victor Lindelof in the centre of defence as United reached a record-equalling 21st FA Cup final with Sunday's penalty shoot-out win over Brighton and Hove Albion.

United will now face treble-chasing rivals City in a Wembley Stadium final on June 3, and the Red Devils are hopeful of having Varane available.

Asked whether Varane could feature in United's second domestic cup final of the season, Ten Hag told talkSPORT: "I think so, yeah. Varane, for the cup final, he can return."

Varane has made a total of 27 starts for United this campaign, having also been sidelined with ankle and leg injuries prior to last year's World Cup.

United have fared well in Varane's absence, winning 20 of their 25 games without him in the starting lineup across all competitions (L5), compared to 16 of their 27 with the Frenchman involved from the off (D7 L4).

Manchester United have confirmed Lisandro Martinez will miss the remainder of the season after suffering a fractured metatarsal during Thursday's Europa League draw against Sevilla.

Martinez was carried from the field by Sevilla's Marcos Acuna and Gonzalo Montiel – his Argentina team-mates – after going down unchallenged in the closing stages at Old Trafford.

With Erik ten Hag having already used all of his substitutes, United were forced to finish the quarter-final first-leg clash with 10 men, and Sevilla took advantage to salvage a 2-2 draw from two goals down.

The Red Devils on Friday confirmed centre-back Martinez will not feature again in the 2022-23 campaign.

"Lisandro Martinez has been ruled out for the remainder of the season after fracturing a metatarsal bone in his foot," a club statement said.

"However, the Argentinian defender is expected to make a full recovery in time to be ready for the start of next season."

Martinez was not the only casualty in United's backline on Thursday as Raphael Varane was replaced at half-time after sustaining a knock, and the Frenchman is set to be out "for a few weeks".

Martinez and Varane have built a solid defensive partnership this term, starting together in 16 of United's 29 Premier League games during Ten Hag's first season in charge.

The injuries represent a huge blow for United, who will look to boost their hopes of a top-four finish at Nottingham Forest on Sunday ahead of Thursday's return fixture against Sevilla.

With Martinez and Varane absent, Ten Hag is likely to turn to Harry Maguire – who put through his own net late on against Sevilla – and Victor Lindelof for United's forthcoming fixtures.

United are already without leading goalscorer Marcus Rashford after the 25-year-old suffered a muscle injury, while Bruno Fernandes will be suspended for next week's trip to Seville.

Erik ten Hag told Manchester United to "look in the mirror" and cut out their costly errors as he deployed a Dutch idiom to explain how he saved Bruno Fernandes from a costly Europa League red card.

The United manager threw his support behind Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof, who could both get a run in the team after injuries to Lisandro Martinez and Raphael Varane blighted Thursday's 2-2 draw with Sevilla at Old Trafford.

He also said it was too soon to gauge the severity of those injuries, even though he has his private suspicions.

Ten Hag then brought a touch of levity to a routine pre-match press conference, ahead of Sunday's trip to Nottingham Forest, when he explained why he substituted playmaker Fernandes against Sevilla.

The Dutch boss suspected his Portuguese star was at risk of being sent off, having thrown the ball away after already being booked, and he guessed any further indiscipline would see the key man ordered off.

"I don't want to take a risk. Where I come from, they call it 'looking a cow in the ass'. We call it that in my region of the Netherlands," Ten Hag said.

United were 2-0 up at the time of the substitution, with Christian Eriksen taking over from Fernandes.

Late own goals from Tyrell Malacia and Maguire scuppered hopes of victory in the first leg of the quarter-final, however, after Marcel Sabitzer's early double had put United in control.

"We had back luck definitely with injuries and the goals," Ten Hag said. "But you can avoid it, and we had to avoid it, so we also have to look in the mirror."

Asked about the injuries, Ten Hag could not specify how long Martinez and Varane may face on the sidelines. Reports Martinez may have a broken metatarsal were brushed aside but not denied.

Ten Hag said: "I don't have a complete diagnosis, so I can't say in this moment. When we have news we will give it straight to you.

"But let's do the medical, do their assessment and get a complete diagnosis, and then we will give the news. But I think it doesn't change in this moment. I have an idea, but I don't go with speculation."

He wants Maguire and Lindelof to prove their value to the team, although Maguire must miss next week's FA Cup semi-final against Brighton and Hove Albion due to suspension.

Ten Hag said he had "a lot" of faith in both defenders, who have faced criticism in the past, saying: "They are decent centre-halves. We have four or five very good centre-halves who can do the job."

What Ten Hag would have no time for is anyone who might see it as a big demand to come into the first team from out in the cold.

"I think then you're finding excuses and when you want to find excuses or set excuses then you don't have to play at Man United and you have to look for another club," Ten Hag said. "You have to wait for your moment and when your moment is there you have to contribute and to bring your performance, this is what we demand."

Scott McTominay and Luke Shaw, both absent against Sevilla, could be back on duty at the City Ground this weekend.

French forward Anthony Martial will also be involved but is unlikely to play 90 minutes as United manage his fitness after a recent hip problem.

"Maybe he can, but it's a risk," said Ten Hag, "and we can't take that risk at this moment because we don't have so many options in the front line with [Marcus] Rashford and [Alejandro] Garnacho injured, so we have to be careful."

Erik ten Hag was left ruing injury problems as Manchester United suffered late heartbreak against Sevilla in the Europa League, while Marcel Sabitzer slammed "two stupid goals" to concede.

Sabitzer's first-half double seemingly had United in complete control of Thursday's quarter-final first leg, with Ten Hag's hosts dominant throughout at Old Trafford.

Yet a Tyrell Malacia own goal six minutes from time handed Sevilla hope before Harry Maguire deflected into his own net in the 92nd minute.

Ten Hag insisted United's 2-2 draw was down to bad fortune, as opposed to his substitutes collapsing under late pressure.

The United manager told BT Sport: "I think we had the game in hand, we were 2-0 up and should have scored three or four. The game was totally on us.

"Some unlucky moments with injuries. Raphael Varane at half-time, Anthony Martial because it was his first start, Antony and Bruno Fernandes because they were on a yellow card.

"Then we lose control at an unlucky moment, then another unlucky moment with Lisandro [Martinez] going off injured when we go down to 10.

"We conceded two own goals, that is bad luck. We have to learn, we have to kill the game, but everything is open for the next game.

"I know we can do better with those players in the last part of the game, we had to be more composed and could benefit from our counter-attacking opportunities, but we didn't.

"We were a little bit unlucky with the defending, two own goals and deflected shots, it's not a nice night."

The late drama saw United become just the second English side to score two own goals in a single match in a major European competition, after Chelsea against Ten Hag's Ajax in November 2019.

It was also the first time United failed to win a match in a major European competition when they had a two-goal lead, since a 3-3 draw with Basel in September 2011.

Sabitzer was left struggling to find an explanation for the chaotic finale after United relinquished what appeared to be an unassailable position.

"I have problems finding the right words, like a rollercoaster game," the United loanee told BT Sport.

"We played a good first half, had good chances after and we had to finish the game off. At the end, it is a draw and that's not what we wanted so we have to go to Sevilla and get it done there.

"Unfortunately we gave away easy goals, we cannot concede these types of goals and we are very disappointed now.

"In a competition like this you have to be focused until the end, when you have a per cent less you can give the game away.

"I think the last minutes were a bit strange, one man down and we had to get the result done.

"But as I said, two stupid goals and that is not what we wanted. Very frustrated. You cannot concede like this and not focus until the end when you are 2-0 up at home, you have to get it done."

United will hope to fight back in the return leg at the Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan Stadium, though the Red Devils face a nervy wait on the fitness of key centre-back pairing Varane and Martinez.

Ten Hag suggested Varane aggravated an injury that kept him on the sidelines after March's international break, while the Dutchman was concerned Martinez went down despite not challenging another player.

"Licha drops out after a moment when there was no opponent involved, it doesn't look that great so we have to wait," Ten Hag added.

"The same with Rafa, an injury he has complained about over the last few weeks, so we have to see how it is now."

Manchester United will not appeal against a four-game domestic ban given to Casemiro after his red card against Southampton, with Raphael Varane backing them to cope in his absence.

A VAR review saw Casemiro shown a straight red card for a forceful challenge on Carlos Alcaraz during the first half of Sunday's goalless draw at Old Trafford.

The midfielder was also sent off in a 2-1 victory over Crystal Palace last month, making him the first United player to receive two red cards in a single Premier League season since Nemanja Vidic in 2013-14.

His second dismissal of the campaign means he must serve a four-match domestic suspension, missing Sunday's FA Cup quarter-final against Fulham as well as league meetings with Newcastle United, Brentford and Everton.

Erik ten Hag questioned Casemiro's dismissal after Sunday's game, claiming the 31-year-old is "tough but fair" and labelling the decision "debatable".  

On Monday, however, United confirmed they would not launch an appeal against the Brazilian's suspension, having determined "there was not a high chance of being able to overturn the ban".

United have suffered as many defeats in seven Premier League games without Casemiro (W3 D1) as in 19 (W12 D4) with the former Real Madrid man this term, while their win rate drops from 63.2 per cent to 42.9 per cent in his absence.

Varane, however, believes the depth of their squad will now come to the fore, saying: "He's a player who is very important for us. He brings balance to the team and to the squad. 

"But we have a great squad and we have to find another balance without him. We have good players in every position on the pitch and we are ready for the next games.

"I think he was very disappointed because nobody wants to be off the pitch before the end. We can't be happy with the decision he [the referee] takes but that's part of football." 

Casemiro will be available when United travel to Real Betis for the second leg of their Europa League last-16 tie on Thursday, after the Red Devils posted a 4-1 win in the first fixture at Old Trafford last week.

Raphael Varane has announced his retirement from international football, saying it is time for France's "new generation" to take over.

Varane, who made his France debut in March 2013, made 93 appearances for Les Bleus.

The former Real Madrid centre-back, who joined Manchester United in 2021, played and started in all seven games of France's successful 2018 World Cup campaign.

Despite heading into last year's World Cup with an injury, Varane featured in six of France's matches in Qatar, including in the final against Argentina.

On Wednesday, Varane shared an Instagram post confirming his retirement from the international stage.

"Representing our great country for a decade has been one of the greatest honours of my life," Varane wrote.

"Every time I wore this very special blue jersey I felt immense pride. The duty to give it [my] all, play my heart out and win every time we went on the field. I've been contemplating this for several months and decided it's the right time for me to retire.

"As a child, I remember following France 98, this team, these players who made us experience indescribable emotions. I dreamed of being our heroes and 20 years later I lived one of the best experiences of my life.

"We brought home the World Cup!! I will never forget it. I still feel every single one of the emotions felt on that day, July 15, 2018. That was one of the most amazing and memorable moments of my life.


"This victory that we won all together would never have been possible without the support of [coach] Didier Deschamps, every member of the management and staff over the years, and my team-mates who have defended our shirt in every game we played.

"But more importantly, this victory would not have been possible without every single one of you supporting us along the way. Even after the defeat in the final last year, you welcomed us as heroes when we returned. To each and every one of you, THANK YOU a thousand times!

"I will miss these moments with you for sure, but the time has come for the new generation to take over. We have a bunch of talented young players who are ready to take over, who deserve a chance and who need you."

Varane, who captained his country 20 times, is the fourth member of France's 2018 World Cup squad to retire from international football, after Blaise Matuidi, Steve Mandanda and former captain Hugo Lloris.

Karim Benzema did not make that squad but was set to feature in Qatar until injury derailed his chances. The Ballon d'Or winner announced his retirement following the tournament.

Deschamps said: "Raphael called me a few days ago to explain to me that he wanted to put an end to his international career. He is an intelligent boy, who knows how to take the time to reflect, weigh the pros and cons before deciding. 

"Without going into the details of our exchange, Raphael believes that he has reached the end of his adventure with the France team. I experienced a situation somewhat similar to his, I understand his arguments and respect his decision even if it may seem regrettable.

"Of course, I cannot turn this page without a certain emotion, given the ties we have forged since August 2012. Like Hugo Lloris, he will have been, barring injury, in all of my squads."

Raphael Varane has expressed his pride in the France squad, after they fell agonisingly short in the World Cup final against Argentina.

A six-goal thriller saw Didier Deschamps side come from behind twice to send the tie to penalties, as Kylian Mbappe became only the second player to score a hat-trick in a World Cup final after Geoff Hurst for England in 1966.

However, Emiliano Martinez saved Kingsley Coman's spot-kick and Aurelien Tchouameni fired wide, before Gonzalo Montiel tucked home the decisive effort to hand Argentina their third World Cup crown.

After a woeful first-half display, France valiantly fought their way back into the match but ultimately fell short, though that has not altered Varane's assessment of the squad's quality.

"We are very disappointed. We gave it our all," he told TF1. "We faced a lot of obstacles during the competition, we fought until the end. We didn't give up.

"Today, for an hour, we were not in the game. We came back and we could have won too. Very proud of the French, of this group. We gave everything, we keep our heads high.

"We came back in this match when we were not in it, it was complicated. It played out very quickly. We came back and then physically, we were better than them.

"We started pushing and we believed in it. We were not far from managing to reverse the match which was badly started.

"There is mental strength in this group, a lot of heart. It allowed us to get to the final, but it wasn't enough to win."

France will regroup for the start of their qualification campaign for the 2024 European Championship, which begins in March against the Netherlands.

Ousmane Dembele says France are "taking precautions" ahead of Sunday's World Cup final with Argentina after two more key players were struck down by illness.

Les Blues were without Adrien Rabiot and Dayot Upamecano for Wednesday's 2-0 semi-final win over Morocco due to a sickness bug in the camp.

Rabiot missed out on the squad entirely while Upamecano was an unused substitute, as was Kingsley Coman, who was also suffering from a fever on the day of the game.

Midfielder Rabiot and defender Upamecano are understood to have now recovered in time for this weekend's final at Lusail Stadium.

However, according to widespread reports, central-defensive duo Raphael Varane and Ibrahima Konate trained away from the team on Friday after falling ill.

Aurelien Tchouameni and Theo Hernandez are also said to have missed the full session two days out from the final as they are recovering from minor injuries.

Despite potentially losing more players to illness and injury, Dembele insists France are not overly concerned at this stage.

"It doesn't worry us," he said at a news conference on Friday. "With Dayot, after a day I went to see him with my mask on and he was much better. 

"For the players and the staff, it doesn't worry us, we are just taking precautions.

"We are not afraid of the virus. Dayot and Adrien had headaches and stomach aches. I made them honey and ginger tea. We hope everyone will be better for the final."

France are already without the likes of Paul Pogba, N'Golo Kante, Karim Benzema, Presnel Kimpembe, Lucas Hernandez and Christopher Nkunku through injury.

Les Blues are aiming to become just the third ever side to retain the trophy, while Argentina are seeking a first world crown in 36 years.

Raphael Varane says France must avoid comparing their current squad to the team that won the 2018 World Cup, after reaching the knockout stage at Qatar 2022.

Les Bleus are looking to defend the title they won in Russia, and are into the last 16 after opening victories against Australia and Denmark in Group D.

Varane, who returned from an injury sustained on club duty with Manchester United to feature in his country's second game, was a member of Didier Deschamps' side that beat Croatia 4-2 in the final in Moscow four years ago.

But the centre-back says the current crop must dodge the pitfalls of measuring their current achievements against those set before, despite the presence of several World Cup-winning players.

"You have to avoid making too many comparisons," he stated. "This is another moment, and you have to be present.

"Each major tournament has its history, with different players and contexts. Four years in football is an eternity.

"We can draw inspiration from before, from the state of mind that we had then, but we must not try to copy."

France – who play Tunisia in their final group game on Wednesday – will be without World Cup winner Lucas Hernandez for the rest of the tournament after he suffered a knee injury in their opening clash with Australia.

His brother Theo has deputised at left-back since, replacing Hernandez in the first half against Australia and continuing in the position against Denmark.

Reflecting on his sibling's injury, Theo Hernandez claimed his brother has requested the World Cup be brought back for him, saying: "Since he left [the squad], I have spoken with him every day.

"He tells me that we have to win, to bring him back the World Cup. We will have to work hard to continue like this though."

Aurelien Tchouameni has rubbished suggestions the France squad is a more harmonious place without Karim Benzema after reaching the World Cup knockout rounds.

Didier Deschamps' side are into the last 16 at Qatar 2022 after victory over Denmark in Group D, with Kylian Mbappe's double firing Les Bleus to a 2-1 win on Saturday.

The attacker has delivered for his side so far in the absence of Benzema, with the Ballon d'Or winner ruled out on the eve of the tournament with a thigh injury.

Some reports have suggested there has been a better atmosphere in the absence of the Real Madrid star, who was not involved at Russia 2018, but Tchouameni has now sought to dispel those rumours.

"I want to come back to something we saw concerning the departure of Karim," Tchouameni stated about his club and international team-mate.

"[Somewhere said] we have felt better since he was no longer here.

"It's totally false. Even when he was there, it was already going well. We have been hurt by these reports.

"What I can tell you is that since we arrived in Qatar, things have been going really well."

With two games under his belt, Tchouameni is fast becoming an integral member for Deschamps in his side's title defence, with France boosted too by the return of defender Raphael Varane.

The Manchester United centre-back has been nursing a problem since late October, but made his return to action with a start against Denmark.

Reflecting on his injury, Varane added: "I've come a long way. It's been a lot of work, a lot of effort to come back.

"I feel good. It's always special to play at this exceptional event. I'll take advantage of every moment. We will do everything to go as far as possible."

France will conclude their Group D campaign against Tunisia on November 30, and will discover their last-16 opponents later that day when Group C concludes.

Didier Deschamps recalled Raphael Varane to his starting XI for France's World Cup clash with Denmark.

Varane, who has not played since he was forced off with an injury in Manchester United's Premier League game with Chelsea on October 22, was one of three changes made to the France team for Saturday's game in Doha.

Deschamps confirmed on Friday that Varane had been fit to feature in the opening game, and had trained without any issues prior to France's second match of the tournament.  The former Real Madrid centre-back replaced Ibrahima Konate in France's XI.

Les Bleus head into the match at Stadium 974 knowing that victory would ensure their progression to the last 16.

The holders thrashed Australia 4-1 in their opening Group D game, though suffered another injury blow in that match, with Lucas Hernandez sustaining a serious knee injury.

Hernandez was replaced by his brother, Theo, and the latter started at left-back against the Danes, with Barcelona defender Jules Kounde replacing Bayern Munich's Benjamin Pavard at right-back.

Olivier Giroud will become France's all-time leading goalscorer the next time he finds the net, and the Milan forward was given the nod up top, leading a line that also included Kylian Mbappe, Ousmane Dembele and Antoine Griezmann.

Denmark coach Kasper Hjulmand made four changes.

Thomas Delaney was injured in the draw with Tunisia on Tuesday and makes way for Mikkel Damsgaard, while Victor Nelsson replaced Simon Kjaer in the defence and Jesper Lindstrom came in for Andreas Skov Olsen.

Andreas Cornelius missed a fantastic chance to seal the points for Denmark against Tunisia, hitting the post from a yard out, but he was handed a start in place of Kasper Dolberg.

France will not call up a replacement for Karim Benzema after the Ballon d'Or winner was ruled out of the World Cup with a thigh injury, head coach Didier Deschamps has confirmed.

Deschamps' side are looking to become the first team to retain the trophy since Brazil in 1962, but they have suffered several injury blows ahead of the tournament in Qatar.

Having already seen midfielders Paul Pogba and N'Golo Kante ruled out, France lost Presnel Kimpembe and Christopher Nkunku after naming their 26-man squad for the competition, but the most severe blow was still to come as Benzema was forced to leave their camp after failing to complete Saturday's training session. 

With Benzema facing three weeks on the sidelines, reports suggested France would decide whether to call up another attacker on Sunday, but Deschamps is content with his existing options. 

"It's obviously a big blow. Karim had done everything, so had we. He was in the session and with an almost innocuous gesture, he felt muscle pain on the other leg," Deschamps told Telefoot.

"The exams unfortunately confirmed too much damage compared to the deadlines that await us. 

"Will he be replaced? No. We have seven to eight attacking players."

Alongside 2018 World Cup winners Kylian Mbappe, Antoine Griezmann, Olivier Giroud and Ousmane Dembele, France can call upon Kingsley Coman, Randal Kolo Muani and Marcus Thuram as attacking options.

Benzema has endured a frustrating season, missing several of Real Madrid's games after sustaining a knee injury in September before being plagued by muscle fatigue in the build-up to the World Cup.

Deschamps insists France's medical staff should not shoulder the blame for his latest injury, adding: "I know that you are looking for controversy, but everything has been done [for Benzema to be fit].

"It happened in the game, not even on an acceleration or a strike. It can happen, it's never the right time, it's not a relapse. 

"He has a concern on the other side, which prevents him from staying with us. It's never fun, it doesn't make you smile. 

"We had already lost Christopher, but we have a goal, the group knows very well what awaits us. We have a quality group. I am convinced of it, I have confidence in them."

Deschamps offered a more positive update on the fitness of Raphael Varane, saying the Manchester United defender "will be available" for Tuesday's Group D opener against Australia.

Varane had been a doubt for the tournament after suffering a leg injury in the Red Devils' Premier League draw with Chelsea last month, but he completed his first collective training session since meeting up with Les Bleus on Saturday. 

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