Al Wakrah, Qatar, Nov 23 (EFE).- France defender Lucas Hernandez will miss the rest of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar after he tore his ACL in the team’s opener against Australia, the French national team confirmed on Wednesday.
The Bayern Munich player, 26, went down in the ninth minute of Tuesday’s Group D match at the Al Janoub Stadium, during the build up for Australia’s opening goal, and clutched his right knee before he was aided off the pitch. He was replaced by his brother, Theo Hernandez, 25.
France went on to win the game 4-1.
The French Football Federation said in a statement Wednesday that a scan revealed Hernandez had torn the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee.
France’s head coach Didier Deschamps said he was “extremely sorry” for Hernandez.
“Lucas is a fighter, and I have no doubt that he will give it his all to return to his best.”
It was the latest in a long list of injuries to beset the defending champions, regarded as one of the favorites to lift the World Cup again this year.
Just before the competition got underway, France confirmed that their star striker and this year’s Ballon D’Or winner Karim Benzema would be sidelined through injury, although Deschamps decided not to replace him in the traveling squad, insisting that the 25 players at his disposal was “sufficient.”
Forward Christopher Nkunku was ruled out before the squad traveled to Qatar, and was replaced by Kolo Muani. In defense, Prenel Kimpembe was withdrawn through injury and his place handed to Axel Disasi.
Also absent through injury are midfielders N’Golo Kanté and Paul Pogba, both of whom were key to France’s success at the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
France’s convincing win over minnows Australia came thanks to goals from Adrien Rabiot, Olivier Giroud and Kylian Mbappé.EFE