Reigning FIFA World Cup champions France have suffered yet another injury blow.
Defender Lucas Hernandez is the latest Les Bleus player to be hit by the injury bug. The Bayern Munich star suffered a knee injury during his country's 2022 FIFA World Cup opener against Australia on Tuesday (November 22). He had to be substituted after just 13 minutes of play.
As per Metro, Hernandez underwent an MRI scan, which indicated that he had sustained damage to his anterior cruciate ligament. He has now been ruled out of the rest of the tournament, much to the disappointment of the French team and their coach Didier Deschamps.
Deschamps said after the game (as quoted by Metro):
‘‘Like the whole group, players and staff, I am extremely sorry for Lucas. We are losing an important element. Lucas is a warrior and I have no doubt that he will do everything possible to return to the game.’’
‘‘I know him well, courage, he will have it, that’s for sure. On behalf of the group, I wish him the best possible recovery.’’
Hernandez is the fourth key player from France's victorious 2018 FIFA World Cup campaign to suffer an injury. Paul Pogba, N'Golo Kante and Presnel Kimpembe all failed to make it into the French squad after their respective long-term injuries.
To add to the team's woes, Karim Benzema and Christopher Nkunku were also ruled out just days before the start of the tournament in Qatar.
France thrash Australia to start FIFA World Cup defense on a high
Injuries have formed a dark cloud over France's chances at the 2022 FIFA World Cup. However, they proved that they have the depth needed to cover for their players' absences during their opening Group D game against Australia on Tuesday.
Les Bleus were in a spot of bother as the Kangaroos scored in the ninth minute through Craig Goodwin. They then lost Lucas Hernandez to injury, with his brother Theo replacing him.
However, neither of those setbacks deterred Didier Deschamps' men as they registered a splendid victory. Adrian Rabiot got the reigning champions level in the 27th minute before Olivier Giroud put them 2-1 up five minutes later.
Kylian Mbappe got into the act midway through the second half before Giroud put the exclamation point on the win with his second goal in the 71st minute.
The 4-1 win puts France firmly on top of Group D after the first round of fixtures, with Denmark and Tunisia drawing 0-0 earlier on Tuesday. Next up, Les Bleus will take on the Danes on November 26.