Nations League: France Face Croatia In World Cup Final Rematch

France’s goalkeeper Hugo Lloris fails to save Croatia’s forward Ivan Perisic’s equalizer during the Russia 2018 World Cup final football match between France and Croatia at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow on July 15, 2018. Odd ANDERSEN / AFP

 

A little over two years after the World Cup final in Moscow, France and Croatia meet again, this time under very different circumstances, in the second round of Nations League matches in Paris on Tuesday.

What should have been a festive full house at the Stade de France, a chance to relive the excitement of Les Bleus’ 4-2 win that July afternoon in Moscow, will be more downbeat, thanks to coronavirus. European football body UEFA has directed that all the games be played behind closed doors.

The atmosphere in a stadium with no spectators will inevitably be flat and the teams on show will be markedly different as the coaches try to manage players who, because of the upheaval in the calendar over the last six months, are not fully fit.

Squad rotation is a necessity, not a choice.

“I’m going to make a lot of changes because it’s very difficult to keep going,” France coach Didier Deschamps said after Saturday’s scratchy 1-0 win over Sweden in his side’s Nations League Group 3 opener in Solna.

“Already, playing 90 minutes with this deficit at the start is taking risks with the players.

“It may go against cohesion and my instinct but I think I have no choice.”

The Croats will be glad to welcome back their veteran midfield pair of Luka Modric and Ivan Ratikic who were rested for the 4-1 thrashing in Portugal on Saturday to be fresh for Paris.

That means Kylian Mbappe, who scored with France’s only shot on goal to beat the Swedes, is likely to be the highest profile absentee.

Part of that is his fitness — the 21-year-old took a nasty blow to his right ankle which had barely recovered from a major sprain — and part of it is club/country politics.

Mbappe is expected to be in Lens on Thursday as Paris Saint-Germain, who have lost six players including Neymar to positive Covid-19 tests, make a belated start to their Ligue 1 season.

– Rotation opportunities –

The promise and need for rotation may open some doors in Deschamps’ starting line-up.

Manchester United’s Anthony Martial, who returned in attack in Solna after more than two years out of the reckoning, may have a further opportunity to press his claims.

The same goes for Real Madrid midfielder Ferland Mendy if Lucas Digne is given a rest, and Lucas Hernandez who has been used sparingly at Bayern Munich.

But the name that is garnering much of the attention is that of Rennes teenager Eduardo Camavinga.

At 17 years and nine months, Camavinga missed out on a first cap on Saturday which would have made him France’s youngest player since World War II but there is every chance that will come in Paris on Tuesday.

To make the starting line-up Camavinga will need to dislodge either Adrien Rabiot, who played in Sweden for the first time since his refusal to be a reserve for the 2018 World Cup, or N’Golo Kante who put in a big performance in Scandinavia.

But Deschamps has all but promised Camavinga some game time, allowing the French to take a look at a young player who is likely to figure largely, alongside Mbappe, in the future.

AFP

Qatar Confirms First Virus Death Among World Cup Workforce

(FILES) In this file photo taken on March 16, 2020 A man wearing a mask as a precaution against COVID-19 coronavirus disease, walks along the Doha corniche in the Qatari capital. QATAR OUT / AFP.

World Cup organisers in Qatar reported the first coronavirus death of a worker involved in construction of 2022 tournament venues on Thursday.

A source close to the Qatari tournament organisers told AFP that 1,102 cases of COVID-19 had been confirmed among workers at tournament projects with 121 infections still active.

First reported by the newly relaunched Doha News, a site popular among expatriates in Qatar, the victim was an engineer in his fifties who had no underlying medical conditions.

Qatar has one of the highest per capita infection rates in the world with 3.3 percent of its 2.75 million population having tested positive.

Most have since recovered with only 17,591 active cases reported in the latest official statistics alongside 104 deaths.

“Sadly, on June 11, 2020, a 51-year-old specialist engineer employed by the contractor Conspel, tragically died after contracting COVID-19,” the Qatari organisation responsible for organising the 2022 tournament said in a statement.

“He had worked on Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy projects since October 2019 and had no underlying health issues. We send our deepest condolences to his family and friends.”

His nationality was not disclosed.

The Qatari organisers reported the first infections among its workforce on April 15 with five cases across three stadium projects.

Work continues at 2022 sites but has slowed to allow virus containment measures including screening and social distancing to be observed with Qatari officials saying preparations are nevertheless more than 80 percent complete.

Organisers have removed all high-risk workers from projects on full pay, undertake temperature checks on workers twice daily, and imposed distancing rules in dining halls and staff transport to limit the virus’ spread.

Construction at infrastructure to stage the tournament continued through the crisis even as Qatar halted non-essential retail and mosques, parks and restaurants closed.

Qatar has begun a cautious reopening programme with socially distanced worship permitted in some Mosques and non-essential retail permitted.

Cafes and restaurants are due to reopen subject to strict controls from July 1.

The timings of the competition, due to be held in November and December of 2022, remain unchanged by the coronavirus pandemic which has already forced the postponement of the European football championships and the Tokyo Olympics.

Both will now take place in 2021.

 

 

-AFP

Zidane Tells Real Madrid To Adopt World Cup Mentality For La Liga Finish

Real Madrid’s French coach Zinedine Zidane looks on before during the Spanish league football match Real Valladolid FC against Real Madrid CF at the Jose Zorilla stadium in Valladolid on January 26, 2020.
CESAR MANSO / AFP

 

Zinedine Zidane wants Real Madrid to treat their remaining 11 games in La Liga like a World Cup as they aim to overhaul Barcelona to win their second league title in eight years. 

Real sit two points behind Barca and return after three months away against Eibar on Sunday, when they will play in their new training ground home at the Alfredo di Stefano Stadium.

La Liga is due to finish on July 19, meaning there will be fixtures every day while clubs will be in action almost every three days for five and a half weeks.

Asked if felt like the start of a World Cup, Zidane said on Saturday: “I like the comparison, I buy into it. My players know what it’s like to play in the final stages of a World Cup or European Championship.

“The important thing is the preparation and I think we have prepared very, very well. Our first match starts tomorrow and we will give everything. I have faith what we have done with the players and now we have to show it on the field.”

La Liga matches are being played behind closed doors because of the coronavirus pandemic, although league president Javier Tebas has said stadiums could be allowed to be 10 to 15 per cent full before the end of the season.

“I don’t like playing without fans, that’s my opinion,” Zidane said. “But as always, we have to adapt. This is the situation. There is a government with people who do their work and we have to do ours.”

Real are playing at the Alfredo di Stefano Stadium to allow renovation work to continue at the Santiago Bernabeu this summer.

The capacity is only 6,000 which would mean far fewer fans could attend if the ban is relaxed.

“My players want to play in front of an audience and right now, there isn’t one,” Zidane said. “But if those in charge say we can, well then we’ll see. I have been a player and I prefer to play with fans. But it is not an excuse, we are going to play well.”

Eden Hazard has been included in the squad to face Eibar after he was able to use the break to recover from a foot injury and Marco Asensio is also available again after rupturing his cruciate ligaments last year.

But Zidane said striker Luka Jovic could miss the run-in after injuring his foot at home and Lucas Vazquez is also out.

-AFP

Messi Has To Win World Cup To Be Better Than Me – Ex-Brazilian Star Edilson

(FILE) Argentine forward Lionel Messi gestures during the Spanish league football match between FC Barcelona and Levante UD at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, on February 2, 2020. LLUIS GENE / AFP.

 

 

Former Brazilian star, Edilson says Lionel Messi has to win the World Cup to prove he is better than him.

The 49-year-old was part of the Brazilian side that won the Japan/Korea 2002 World Cup title.

He also claimed that during his prime, he was better than Messi and Juventus star Cristiano Ronaldo.

Similarly, Edilson said compatriot Neymar has to win the competition to be better than him, insisting that he was more skillful than the trio.

Messi and Ronaldo have won 11 of the last 12 Ballon d’Or and have a number of individual prizes to their names.

But Edilson, who played for Palmeiras and Corinthians in his home country and was never nominated or won the Ballon d’Or, stressed that his World Cup medal gave him an edge over them.

“At my best, I played better than Neymar,” he was quoted as telling TV Bandeirantes.

He added, “He (Neymar) needs to win the World Cup in order to be better than me. I have personality, and for Messi to be better than me, he also has to win the World Cup.”

For Ronaldo, Edilson believes the Portuguese is good with both feet and has strength but still does not match his skills.

Messi played the final match of the 2014 World Cup with Argentina where his side lost narrowly to Germany one to nil in Brazil.

Ronaldo and Neymar have also made it to the semi-final of the competition with their respective nations.

FIFA Postpones Women’s Under-17 World Cup To 2021

FIFA President Gianni Infantino addresses the media during a press conference following the FIFA Council Meetings in Miami, Florida, on March 15, 2019. RHONA WISE / AFP.

 

The women’s Under-17 World Cup, due to be held in India in November, has been postponed for three month, FIFA said Tuesday, adding to a growing list of sporting events hit by the pandemic.

The tournament, to be played in five cities across the country, will now start February 17, football’s governing body said.

India is looking to boost its international standing as a host of top sporting events after holding the men’s Under-17 World Cup in 2017.

“All the host cities have put in a lot of effort and commitment so far, and we are happy that the new dates will allow them to make up for the lost time and provide momentum going forward,” the local organising committee said after the FIFA announcement.

FIFA also unveiled new dates for this year’s U-20 Women’s World Cup in Costa Rica and Panama. It will now be played from January 20 to February 6, 2021.

The 2020 FIFA Futsal World Cup in Lithuania has been pushed back to September 12 next year.

READ ALSO: Spain Unveils 14-day Quarantine For Arrivals

Meanwhile, the 70th FIFA Congress, which was due to be held in Addis Ababa, will be run as an online event on September 18.

The coronavirus has brought international sport to a standstill, but some football leagues are restarting — albeit behind closed doors.

South Korea’s K-League came back to life last Friday and Germany’s Bundesliga football championship is to restart this weekend in empty stadiums.

AFP

Infantino Offers To Move Club World Cup To Accommodate Euro In 2021

FIFA President Gianni Infantino addresses the media during a press conference following the FIFA Council Meetings in Miami, Florida, on March 15, 2019. Infantino on Friday confirmed plans to launch an expanded 24-team Club World Cup in 2021 following a meeting in Miami. The new tournament, which has drawn threats of a boycott from leading European clubs, is to be staged in June-July 2021 instead of the Confederations Cup.
RHONA WISE / AFP.

FIFA president Gianni Infantino on Tuesday proposed delaying next year’s revamped 24-team Club World Cup in China after UEFA postponed the European Championship until 2021 because of the coronavirus pandemic.

South America’s equivalent of the Euros, the Copa America, also scheduled for this June and July, has also been postponed by a year, ensuring European-based players will be free to finish the season with their clubs.

Moving the tournaments by a year puts them on a collision course with FIFA and its president Infantino, who had planned to stage the inaugural edition of his highly lucrative Club World Cup in June and July next year in China.

Infantino said in a statement he would hold a conference call with FIFA officials on Wednesday, during which he will suggest “to decide at a later stage — when there is more clarity on the situation — when to reschedule the new FIFA Club World Cup, later in 2021, in 2022 or in 2023.”

He also said FIFA will plan “to discuss with the Chinese FA and the Chinese Government the postponement of the new FIFA Club World Cup from 2021 in order to minimise any negative impact.”

READ ALSO: COVID-19: More than 850 Million Students Shut Out of School – UNESCO 

UEFA said the new proposed dates for the tournament were June 11 to July 11 next year, as Euro 2020 becomes Euro 2021.

This year’s tournament was due to be held in 12 countries. There is no suggestion the format or number of venues will change.

“The world is facing an unprecedented health challenge and clearly a global and collective response is needed,” said Infantino.

“Cooperation, mutual respect and understanding must be the guiding principles for all decision makers to have in mind at this crucial moment in time.

“Particularly in football, finding appropriate and fair solutions at global level is imperative.”

Infantino added FIFA would pledge $10 million (9.1 million euros) to the World Health Organization’s COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund.

The outbreak, which first emerged in China late last year, has quickly marched across the globe, infecting more than 180,000 people and killing over 7,000.

AFP

England World Cup Winner Martin Peters Dies At 76

(FILES) In this file photo taken on July 30, 1966 England’s forward Martin Peters (16), followed by his teammate Roger Hunt, celebrates after scoring during the World Cup final on July 30, 1966, at Wembley stadium in London. STRINGER / AFP

 

 

Martin Peters, who scored England’s second goal in the 1966 World Cup final against West Germany, has died aged 76 following a long battle against Alzheimer’s disease.

Peters, whose death was announced by former club West Ham, was part of the Hammers trio of captain Bobby Moore and Geoff Hurst, who scored a hat-trick in the 4-2 victory at Wembley, for England’s only World Cup triumph.

Hurst described Peters as “one of the all-time greats”.

“On behalf of everyone at West Ham United, we would like to express our deep sadness at the tragic loss of Martin Peters, one of the greatest figures in the 125-year history of our club,” a statement from the Premier League club said.

“Martin represented everything that we hold dear to our heart at West Ham United — a local boy who progressed through the academy ranks, played football with class, skill and determination, and provided out supporters with a host of magical memories over the years.

“The fact that he went on to achieve the pinnacle of the beautiful game by winning the World Cup, along with his West Ham team-mates Bobby Moore and Geoff Hurst, is of course a constant source of pride for our football club and something that will never, ever be forgotten.

“It has been tremendously sad to hear of the health battles Martin had faced in recent years. But he faced them with the same courage and dignity that he showed on the pitch throughout his long and illustrious career.

“The word ‘legend’ is used all too freely nowadays. But Martin Peters is a true legend. A legend of West Ham United. A legend of World football. And his contribution to our club and our game will never, ever be forgotten.”

Peters, who won 67 England caps and scored 20 goals, is the fifth member of England’s World Cup-winning side to pass away after Alan Ball, Ray Wilson, Gordon Banks and Moore.

Hurst mourned the loss of Peters, hailing his old team-mate as one of England’s finest players.

– ‘All-time great’ –

“Today is a very sad day for football and for me personally. Martin Peters was one of the all-time greats and a close friend and colleague of mine for in excess of 50 years,” he tweeted.

“A fellow World cup final goalscorer and my West Ham partner for years along with Bobby Moore. RIP old friend.”

Peters came through the West Ham academy, having signed as an apprentice in 1959 and went on to help the east London club win the European Cup Winners’ Cup in 1965.

Renowned as the complete midfielder, Peters was good in the air, able to cross with either foot and possessed great movement.

His ability to drift into goalscoring positions unnoticed by his markers would see him nicknamed ‘The Ghost’.

He later joined Tottenham as Britain’s first £200,000 midfielder in 1970, in a deal which saw Spurs’ all-time record scorer Jimmy Greaves going in the opposite direction to West Ham.

At Spurs, he won two League Cups and the first UEFA Cup in 1972 before spells at Norwich and Sheffield United were followed by his retirement in 1981.

Tottenham said they were “extremely saddened” to hear of Peters’ death, tweeting: “The thoughts of everyone at the club are with his family and friends at this difficult time.”

In 2016, it was revealed Peters had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.

A statement from Peters’ family said: “A beloved husband, dad and grandad, and a kind, gentle and private man, we are devastated by his loss but so very proud of all that he achieved and comforted by the many happy memories we shared.”

A tweet from the official England account read: “We’re deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Martin Peters MBE, scorer of the Three Lions’ second goal in the 1966 World Cup final, at the age of 76. Our thoughts are with Martin’s family and friends at this difficult time.”

AFP

England Stun New Zealand In Classic To Reach World Cup Final

New Zealand’s wing Sevu Reece (L) and England’s full back Elliot Daly reach for the ball during the Japan 2019 Rugby World Cup semi-final match between England and New Zealand at the International Stadium Yokohama in Yokohama on October 26, 2019. CHARLY TRIBALLEAU / AFP

 

Fly-half George Ford led the way as England ended New Zealand’s eight-year reign as champions with a superb 19-7 World Cup semi-final win in Yokohama on Saturday.

Ford, restored at 10 by coach Eddie Jones, took over goal-kicking duties after England captain Owen Farrell took a knock but he landed four penalty attempts after Manu Tuilagi stunned the All Blacks with an early try.

This was just England’s eighth win in 42 Tests against New Zealand and meant the All Blacks had lost their first World Cup match since a shock 2007 quarter-final defeat by France.

England’s first World Cup win over the two-time defending champions puts them into their fourth final — just four years after their embarrassing first-round exit on home soil.

“Our best form of attack is our defence. We create opportunities through our defence to attack,” said England coach Eddie Jones, who has masterminded the turnaround.

“I’d like to pay the greatest compliment to New Zealand. They’ve won two World Cups in a row. They’ve been a really great team and and we had to dig really deep to beat them.”

England, world champions in 2003 when they beat an Australia side coached by Jones in the final, will now face the winners of Sunday’s match between South Africa and Wales in next week’s showpiece clash.

Their victory ended the tenure of All Blacks coach Steve Hansen, who is stepping down after overseeing a sensational run when they lost only 10 of 106 Tests.

 ‘Take that on the chin’ 

“I’m really proud of our team. They’ve done a tremendous job for their country and tonight we just weren’t good enough,” said Hansen.

“So we have to take that on the chin and so does everybody back home and our fans.”

England led 10-0 at the break thanks to Tuilagi’s converted try and the first of Ford’s penalties after a superb forward effort led by locks Courtney Lawes and Maro Itoje saw them dominate territory and possession.

Another Ford penalty early in the second half made it 13-0 but the All Blacks eventually broke a defence coached by former New Zealand boss John Mitchell in the 57th minute, when Ardie Savea crashed over for a converted try.

But Sam Underhill’s tackle on the recalled Scott Barrett led to a simple penalty in front of the posts that Ford duly kicked.

Jones had recalled Ford at fly-half following the 40-16 quarter-final win over Australia, moving Farrell to inside centre.

Before kick-off England, unusually, lined up in an inverted ‘V’ formation, crossing the half-way line as the All Blacks performed their traditional pre-match haka.

And there were fewer than two minutes on the clock when England scored a brilliant team try.

Fullback Elliot Daly made a fine break down the right that was carried on by wing Anthony Watson before the ball was worked across field, with hooker Jamie George charging forward.

 Disallowed tries 

Ford then found prop Kyle Sinckler and he in turn released Lawes, who took the ball to the All Blacks’ line.

From the ensuing ruck, powerhouse centre Tuilagi — one of England’s try-scorers when they last beat the All Blacks seven years ago — forced his way between guard props Joe Moody and Nepo Laulala for a fine try.

Farrell converted and England led 7-0.

They almost had a second try minutes later when Tuilagi intercepted and found Farrell who passed to Jonny May.

But great corner-flagging by recalled flanker Scott Barrett stopped the wing in his tracks.

England made several more early visits to New Zealand’s 22 only for their own errors to cost them the chance of further points.

Underhill, who had a try against New Zealand last year controversially disallowed, went over in the 25th minute but referee Nigel Owens correctly ruled out the score for crossing by fellow flanker Tom Curry in the build-up.

Ford’s drop goal attempt sailed well wide of the right post but he made no mistake with a 45-metre penalty after a limping Farrell was unable to take the shot.

England thought they had their second try when, following a drive off an attacking line-out, scrum-half Ben Youngs went over after selling centre Anton Lienert-Brown a dummy.

But Owens ruled it out for a knock-on in the maul.

Another Ford penalty extended the lead but George’s overthrown line-out near England’s line was collected by Savea, with fly-half Richie Mo’unga converting.

That, however, was as close as New Zealand got as two more Ford penalties created an unbridgeable gap for the defending champions.

AFP

Golden Eaglets Land In Gioania, Set For World Cup Action

Photo: Twitter – @thenff

 

The Golden Eaglets of Nigeria have landed in the city of Gioania, Brazil, where the team will tackle Hungary at the Estadio Olimpico in Saturday’s opening match of Group B at the 2019 FIFA U17 World Cup.

Players and the officials were received by FIFA and local organizing committee officials at the airport, before heading to their hotel at the Metropolis area of the city.

The Eaglets have been in Brazil since October 10, precisely in the city of Sao Paulo, where they had their training camp and played three warm up games against Sao Paulo U 17 side, which they lost 1-2, before defeating South Korea 4-2 and then losing by the odd goal to Japan.

 Nigeria, champions in 1985, 1993, 2007, 2013 and 2015 will tussle with Hungary, Australia and Ecuador in Group B of the competition that has 24 countries competing for glory.

FIFA U17 WORLD CUP BRAZIL 2019 GROUPS

GROUP A: Brazil, Canada, New Zealand, Angola

GROUP B: Nigeria, Hungary, Ecuador, Australia

GROUP C: Korea Republic, Haiti, France, Chile

GROUP D: USA, Senegal, Japan, Netherlands

GROUP E: Spain, Argentina, Tajikistan, Cameroon

GROUP F: Solomon Islands, Italy, Paraguay, Mexico

Aisha Buhari Unveils 2020 World Para Power-Lifting World Cup

Aisha Buhari Thanks Nigerians for Supporting Husband’s Administration

 

First Lady of Nigeria, Aisha Buhari, has unveiled the athletes that will compete in the 2020 World Para-Powerlifting World Cup being hosted in Abuja, early next year.

She unveiled the athletes at an event which held at the State House on Wednesday, October 17, 2019, as well as the mascot and logo of the competition.

The First Lady, who was represented by the wife of the Vice President, Mrs. Dolapo Osinbajo, noted that hosting the 2020 championship will be an enormous task, with para-lifters coming from Europe, the Americas and Africa to converge in Abuja.

She, therefore, charged the organisers to put all hands on deck to ensure the success of the event.

A clothing line was also unveiled as a way to source revenue for retired athletes and the First Lady called for patronage, saying that it will help the athletes not to retire into poverty.

She vowed that “as an advocate for women, children and vulnerable groups, I will continue to champion their cause with all my strength.”

She also expressed gratitude to the Federation for naming the event after her and giving her the privilege of hosting the championships.

Meanwhile, President of the Nigeria Para Power Lifting Federation, Mrs Queen Uboh, in her address said the choice of the First Lady to host the event was deliberate, because of her commitment to the cause of the vulnerable Nigerians.

She said most of the team members are also female and will draw inspiration from her involvement.

She further stated that as a result of the respect which Nigeria has in the world of para-lifting, the nation has secured an approval to host the global event for the next three years.

Uboh, therefore, called on Nigerians to support the clothing line initiative which will usher in a new phase of life for retired athletes.

Qatar To Test New 2022 Stadium During Club World Cup

The official logo of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 is unveiled on a giant screen in Madrid on September 3, 2019. GABRIEL BOUYS / AFP

 

Qatar will inaugurate the third of its eight World Cup stadiums when the Education City ground hosts the Club World Cup semi-final tie on December 18, FIFA said on Monday.

The 40,000-seat venue seven kilometres (four miles) outside central Doha will also host the third-place play-off and the final of the tournament which gets underway on December 11.

The inaugural game will see Liverpool, as European champions, face either CONCACAF Champions League winners Monterrey, Al Sadd of Qatar or minnows Hienghene Sport of New Caledonia who are Oceania champions.

The 2022 hosts have so far inaugurated the newly-built al-Janoub stadium in May, as well as the Khalifa International stadium which opened in 1976 and was relaunched in 2017 after a full refurbishment.

“With all three venues located a maximum of 12 kilometres from central Doha, the FIFA Club World Cup 2019 will provide a glimpse of Qatar’s compact nature ahead of the FIFA World Cup 2022,” FIFA said in a statement.

“Taking place around the same time of the year and with matches kicking off from 17:00 local time (1400 GMT), this year’s tournament will also give teams and fans alike the chance to experience Qatar’s mild winter.”

Average temperatures are expected to range between 15 and 24 celsius (59 to 75 Fahrenheit), it added.

Hassan al-Thawadi, the secretary general of Qatar’s Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy, said following Al-Janoub’s opening in May that two further new stadiums would be ready “by the end of this year (or) first quarter” 2020.

The exact date would depend on the timing of events to launch the two venues, he added.

“By 2021 all our stadiums will be ready,” he said.

AFP

France’s Fofana Ruled Out Of Rugby World Cup

France’s Wesley Fofana, taking part in a training session in Marcoussis on the outskirts of Paris, on the eve of the Six Nations rugby union tournament match between France and Wales.  ALAIN JOCARD / AFP

Retiring France centre Wesley Fofana was ruled out of the rest of the Rugby World Cup on Saturday and replaced by uncapped Pierre-Louis Barassi, the French Rugby Union announced.

Fofana, 31, who announced earlier in the year he would end his international career after the tournament, has failed to recover from a thigh problem.

He missed Les Bleus’ tense 23-21 victory over Argentina on Saturday due to the injury as Gael Fickou and Virimi Vakatawa started their campaign opener.

The Clermont midfielder played the last of his 48 Tests in the victory over Italy in August where he picked up the issue.

Barassi, 21, who plays for Lyon, was part of France’s junior World Cup-winning side in 2018 along with fly-half Romain Ntamack and prop Demba Bamba.

Jacques Brunel’s side face the US next on October 2 before playing Tonga and England in Pool C with their hopes of making the quarter-finals high following the Pumas win.

AFP