Raphael Varane and Ibrahima Konate are the latest players to fall victim to a virus that is sweeping through the France camp ahead of the World Cup Final.
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France have introduced social distancing measures to try and halt its spread but five players have now been diagnosed – with Adrien Rabiot, Upamecano and Kingsley Coman all affected. Konate is believed to be more ill than Varane.
There have even been claims that the illness was picked up during the quarter-final game against England with France’s staff trying to work out a timeline & its origin. But there is no evidence to support this.
The more likely explanation is that the bug has been contracted in the way that many people have fallen ill in Qatar in the competition. Air-conditioning in stadiums, hotels and training facilities has been blamed while earlier in the World Cup players complained of sore throats and coughs.
Many visitors to the World Cup in Qatar have struggled with Middle East respiratory syndrome which can cause fly symptoms.
Both Rabiot and Upamecano missed France’s 2-0 semi-final victory over Morocco due to the flu-like illness with Kingsley Coman also out.
All the players have been isolated and were not allowed to mix with others although Didier Deschamps is confident they will be available for the final against Argentina. But the fear is that other players may fall ill and an update is expected today.
France have also imposed extra measures at their team hotel including social distances, greater sanitisation and ordering workers to wear masks. Although, there is no Covid testing taking place
“In Doha, temperatures have fallen a little bit, you have air conditioning which is on all the time,” said Deschamps. “We’ve had a few cases of flu-like symptoms. We are trying to be careful so it doesn’t spread and players have made great efforts out on the pitch and obviously their immune systems suffer.
After beating Morocco, Aurelien Tchouameni said the players were being told to use hand sanitiser while Deschamps confirmed Upamecano & Coman were “feverish” and could not play.
The theory that the virus was contracted through contact with England stars started because Declan Rice had missed training for a day through illness but was not suffering from the same symptoms – spread after the game.