Posted on: November 17, 2022, 11:37h.
Last updated on: November 17, 2022, 11:44h.
The FIFA World Cup is getting underway this Sunday, and teams from across the globe are now in Qatar making their preparations. France is one of them, but it is finding it harder to keep its team together, as more players are falling out because of injuries.
The latest to disappear from the lineup is Christopher Nkunku. The RB Leipzig midfielder left before the end of Tuesday’s training with a left knee injury. Unfortunately, the examinations revealed a sprain, which ends his chance of representing France.
Nkunku helped Paris Saint-Germain secure three Ligue 1 titles before moving to the Bundesliga’s RB Leipzig team in 2019. He was set to make his debut for France’s national team in the upcoming World Cup.
Staying Healthy A Challenge For France
The French Football Federation sent a medical file to FIFA to authorize a replacement for Nkunku based on the medical results. FIFA agreed, and Randal Kolo Muani will step in.
Muani was in Japan with his club, the Bundesliga’s Eintracht Frankfurt, when he got the call. He then joined the French team in Doha on Thursday morning.
Muani is one of the fastest-growing French strikers in recent years, making his name in Ligue 1 before going to Germany this year. This past September, the French national team recruited him to play in two EUFA Nations League matches, one against Sweden and the other against Austria. France lost the first, but won the second.
The absence of Nkunku comes after several other losses for the French team. Presnel Kimpembe, Paul Pogba, and N’Golo Kanté would have been key components for France, but are out because of various injuries.
France makes its first appearance in the World Cup against Australia on November 22. Even with the absences, it’s still in a good position to win the game, and possibly the entire tournament.
DraftKings has France beating Australia -400 to +1100. The French squad is also third in line to take the title, getting +700. That puts it right behind Argentina (+500) and Brazil (+350).
FIFA Takes Pride In Its Balls
The ball from the 2022 World Cup is called Al Rihla, which means “the journey” in Arabic. It is inspired by various elements of Qatari culture, such as language, architecture, iconic ships and the country’s flag.
Al Rihla travels faster in flight than any other ball in World Cup history, according to FIFA. It was rigorously tested in the field by players and in wind tunnels before final production.
Al Rihla will be the fourteenth consecutive ball produced by Adidas for the World Cup. The sportswear giant began its reign of creating World Cup balls with Telstar at the 1970 World Cup in Mexico, and has produced a new ball for every World Cup and for every Women’s World Cup since 2011.