Things haven’t exactly gone smoothly for France at the Euros so far.
The pre-tournament favourites and reigning world champions have yet to spark into life. A solid 1-0 win over Germany was followed by a disappointing draw with Hungary to make their advancement from the group slightly more complicated ahead of a showdown with Portugal.
Now, the team's preparations have been hit by news of a knee injury to Ousmane Dembele sustained after coming on as a substitute in that Hungary game.
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The Barcelona forward will miss the remainder of the tournament and is even at risk of being ruled out of the start of the new campaign for his club side.
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Although not necessarily a starter for Didier Deschamps’ team, his injury will be felt. Eurosport France’s Maxime Dupuis broke down what this means for the team and the player for the rest of the tournament.
Demeble's short cameo against Hungary injected some notable energy in the team, even though he's not a starter, how badly will he be missed?
He’ll be missed because he was a 12th or 13th guy on the team. He was brought on for the two first games. He is the one you launch to find solution.
He provides something different with his speed and qualities.
Does Deschamps have an alternative? Who else in the squad can offer what Dembele does?
Yes, there is a natural alternative: Kingsley Coman. He’s more of a winger but his main quality is also speed.
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How bad is the injury?
Maybe a few months, but nothing is official for the moment. Injuries have impacted his career for a few years unfortunately.
At Barcelona he’s often been out but in the last few months, we thought these problems were behind him. But sadly not. Before his latest comeback, he hadn’t played with the national team for two and a half years.
Ousmane Dembélé (France)
Image credit: Imago
Would he have been expected to have come into the starting line up at any point during the tournament?
I don’t think so because if Deschamps changes his system, he tends to add an extra midfielder for the solidity.
The news is not ideal before the Portugal game. What would the mood be like among his teammates?
Of course it’s a blow because he’s a nice guy. And he’s liked in the group.
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