DOHA, Qatar — AL KHOR France coach Didier Deschamps has said the team is taking measures to prevent the spread of a virus in the days leading up to the World Cup final against Argentina.
In the semi-final match against Morocco on Wednesday at Al Bayt Stadium, Dayot Upamecano and Adrien Rabiot were both sick and unable to play.
Deschamps said the two players were originally kept apart from the rest of the team, but he is optimistic that they will be able to play in Sunday’s championship game, in which Les Bleus will attempt to become the first side to successfully defend the trophy since Brazil in 1962.
While sources told ESPN that Rabiot was advised to stay in his room at the team hotel, Upamecano returned to training on Tuesday and was named to the bench for the match against Morocco.
Deschamps said that Kingsley Coman was “feverish” earlier in the day as well. Middle East respiratory syndrome, which can cause flu-like illnesses of varying severity, has affected numerous tourists in Qatar. It is still unclear which virus is attacking the France camp.
Deschamps noted that “temperatures have dipped a little bit, you have air conditioning which is on all the time” in Doha.
“Some people have come down with what seems to be the flu. Players have exerted themselves greatly on the field, and it seems to reason that their immune systems would be weakened as a result.
“After the game [against England], Dayot Upamecano got sick. When you put in that kind of effort, you weaken your immune system and increase your risk of contracting these infections.
“Viruses are naturally contagious, therefore we have to take precautions against them. Nonetheless, we are taking all the required steps to prevent its spread. We kept him isolated from everyone else, including Adrien.”
France defeated a determined Moroccan team 2-0 thanks to goals from Theo Hernandez and substitute Randal Kolo Muani.
Man of the Match honors went to Antoine Griezmann, who conceded that more improvement would be necessary to beat an Argentina team led by Lionel Messi, who was in “scintillating form,” as Deschamps put it.
According to Griezmann, “any squad with Messi in is a completely different prospect.” “Argentina is a challenging squad to play, and they appear to be in peak form, as we have witnessed firsthand by watching nearly all of their matches at this World Cup.
“It’s not just Messi; they have a solid supporting cast, so we anticipate a challenging matchup and a loud home crowd.
We will return to our tasks tomorrow with a laser-like focus on finding ways to injure them and counter their attacks.