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France’s Ribéry bids adieu to World Cup over back injury

© AFP

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2014-06-07

With less than a week to go before the start of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, France’s Les Bleues received some bad news on Friday: their star player Franck Ribéry will have to miss the tournament because of a back injury.

Attacking midfielder Clément Grenier is also out of the World Cup because of a groin problem, France coach Didier Deschamps said. Gernier is the Les Bleues third injury since the 23-man squad was unveiled. Second-choice goalkeeper Steve Mandanda also pulled out.

Ribéry and Grenier will be replaced in the squad by Morgan Schneiderlin and Rémy Cabella.

The replacements have to be validated by world governing body FIFA, as they were made after the 23-man squad submission deadline, which was on June 2.

"We will hand over those two files and they will take the time they need to reply," said Deschamps. "They are the first, Franck or Clément, to be very sad. Franck had problems but everything was going in the right direction until his situation suddenly aggravated."

France start their World Cup campaign on June 15 against Honduras in Group E, where they will also meet Ecuador and Switzerland.

Ribéry instrumental

Ribéry was instrumental in France's qualifying campaign, scoring five goals and creating several chances for his team mates.

He has been suffering from lower back pains for weeks, playing his last game in the German Cup final on May 17 when he came as a substitute for Bayern Munich but could not finish the match.

Without him, Les Bleus beat Norway 4-0 and drew 1-1 against Paraguay in their two World Cup warm-up games.

Ribéry's spot on the left wing was taken by Real Sociedad's Antoine Griezmann and Newcastle United forward Loïc Rémy alternatively.

Both put in solid displays with Griezmann scoring the goal against Paraguay.

Deschamps probably wanted to avoid the mistakes his predecessors made when they took major players to tournaments with injuries hoping they would return to fitness during the competition.

In 2002, France coach Roger Lemerre took Zinedine Zidane to the World Cup after the playmaker had injured his thigh in their last warm-up game against South Korea. Zidane could only play in the final group game against Denmark and made no impact as Les Bleus crashed out in the first round.

At the 2008 European Championship, coach Raymond Domenech included the injured Patrick Vieira in his squad, but he never played as France were also eliminated in the group stage.

With Ribéry out, Deschamps could have called up Manchester City's Samir Nasri, but having made clear he had not picked him in the first place because of his behaviour off the pitch, he overlooked him again.

France take on Jamaica in Lille on Sunday in their last warm-up game before the World Cup.

(FRANCE 24 with REUTERS)

Date created : 2014-06-07

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