France injuries at World Cup 2022

Injuries have impacted several teams both in the lead-up and during the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, as a packed schedule for clubs leave players at the limit of their physical powers.

Paul Pogba
Paul Pogba

One side that has been ravaged by injury more than others is defending World Cup champions France. Some of their biggest names have been ruled out of the tournament all together.

This includes 2022 Ballon d'Or winner and star striker Karim Benzema, and star midfielders Paul Pogba and N'Golo Kante. But more joined the list after the tournament started.

France World Cup injuries

Lucas Hernandez

Lucas Hernandez was the latest Les Bleus player to be ruled out of the tournament. The Bayern Munich defender lasted just 13 minutes into France's 2022 World Cup opener against Australia. The 26-year-old went down with a serious looking knee injury in the buildup to Australia's early goal.

Subsequent scans confirmed an ACL injury and he will be sidelined for the remainder of matches in Qatar. His brother Theo Hernandez took his place against Australia and is now France's first-choice left-back for the remainder of the tournament.

Lucas Hernandez
Lucas Hernandez

Karim Benzema

The 2022 Ballon d'Or winner was ruled out of the World Cup on November 19 after picking up an injury in training. Benzema hurt his left quadricep during the session, which has been typical for a season which has seen him struggle for fitness at club level with Real Madrid.


His absence was arguably biggest blow for France ahead of the Qatar tournament.

N'Golo Kante

Arguably the most important player to be ruled out for France is Chelsea midfielder N'Golo Kante.

He only played two games back in August before succumbing to a hamstring injury that has left him out for club and ultimately country as he underwent surgery in October that has sidelined him for four months.

N'Golo Kante
N'Golo Kante

Despite being Chelsea's most important midfielder, the 31-year-old has been blighted by injuries. It is a huge loss for France as they lost one of the best workhorse midfielders in the world.

Paul Pogba

To add to France's midfield woes, Paul Pogba was also ruled out of the Qatar World Cup.

The 29-year-old has not played a minute for club side Juventus this season due to a knee injury, and while it was hoped he would be fit enough in time to make the squad, he picked up a thigh injury in recovery that means he will miss the tournament.

Paul Pogba
Paul Pogba

It's a bitter blow for Pogba, whose club career has stalled after leaving Manchester United in ignominy last summer. His performance at the last World Cup earned high praise, and he scored in the 4-2 win over Croatia in the final.

Mike Maignan

France's goalkeeping ranks have also taken a hit, with AC Milan's Mike Maignan failing to make the squad due to a calf injury sustained in October. Having won the Italian title for his club side last season, the 27-year-old's stock has been on the rise and he is seen as the successor to current number one Hugo Lloris.

However, he won't get the chance to potentially shine on a World Cup stage, and the pressure is on Lloris to remain consistent between the sticks.

Presnel Kimpembe

France's injury woes continued even after the squad touched down in Qatar with PSG defender Presnel Kimpembe being ruled out after failing to shake off a recurring injury in time.

The defender, who was part of the 2018 World Cup winning squad, has only made 11 appearances in all competition's for PSG, and was forced to accept that he will not be fit enough to take part in the World Cup.

Christopher Nkunku

And just days after Kimpembe's injury, France lost another player originally in the squad, as RB Leipzig midfielder Christopher Nkunku picked up a knee injury in training.

The 25-year-old has been in fantastic form for his club, scoring 17 goals in 23 games, and was tipped to play a key role for Les Bleus.

He will not get the chance to help his country defend their crown though, and will be forced to watch the World Cup from home, in a devastating blow, as Eintracht Frankfurt's Randal Kolo Muani was called up to replace him.

How do these injuries impact France in Qatar?

The injuries to Kante and Pogba have a massive impact on France's midfield, as both are key players when fit. They played key roles in France's 2018 World Cup victory, and Kante played in a UEFA Nations league game in September before his injury.

Didier Deschamps has opted for exciting young midfielder Aurelien Tchouameni, who currently plays at Real Madrid, and Adrien Rabiot of Juventus has been in-form and getting time alongside Tchouameni, with Eduardo Camavinga riding the bench.

Maignan, Nkunku and Kimpembe had differing roles in France's Nations League campaign. Maignan started three games before succumbing to injury at half-time against Austria. West Ham's Alphonse Areola and Rennes' Steven Mandanda were selected as the back-up keepers in his place.

Nkunku played in all six Nations League matches, two of which were starts, and picked up two assists in the process; he was set to play a key role for the side as a dynamic option off the bench. Instead, Eintracht Frankfurt's Randal Kolo Muani was drafted as his replacement.

Kimpembe was selected as captain for two games of the Nations League and was on the bench for two others. He has been replaced in the side by uncapped Monaco defender Axel Diasi.
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