Raphael Varane is ready to return to action for France’s World Cup clash with Denmark after more than a month out with a leg injury, coach Didier Deschamps said on Friday.
The Manchester United defender was left out of the holders’ 4-1 stroll in their Group D opener against Australia but Deschamps said he was fit to play before that match and could feature at the 974 Stadium on Saturday.
“He could have played, he was ready, he was fit. We discussed it with him,” Deschamps told reporters.
“He was fit for the first game and he’s fit for the second game, we will have to make that decision. The main thing is that he’s fit and ready.”
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Varane’s availability is a boost for Deschamps, who has lost a host of key players in the lead-up to and during the World Cup in Qatar.
France arrived without Paul Pogba, N’Golo Kante — stars of their 2018 World Cup triumph — and Presnel Kimpembe. Striker Karim Benzema and Lucas Hernandez were then forced to quit Qatar with injury.
However France looked strong in their opening match and will secure qualification with a game to spare if they beat Denmark.
They will also be ensured of first place in the group if they win and the earlier match between Tunisia and Australia finishes in a draw.
Denmark could only manage a goalless draw with Tunisia in their first match but should make life difficult for France — they beat Les Bleus home and away in the Nations League.
“They beat us twice and made life very difficult for us, so we have to make sure that’s not the case tomorrow,” said Deschamps.
“It’s not a case of wanting revenge because we know the Denmark players and they know us… we’ve looked at their players and learned from the experience, but they will have too.”
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Captain Hugo Lloris played in the first of those two defeats at the Stade de France in June and is wary of underestimating the Danes, despite a poor performance against the Tunisians.
“It’s a different competition, but it gives you an idea of the Danish team, they are excellent and capable of beating the best,” said Lloris.
“We can’t say we don’t know them, don’t need any extra motivation at this stage of the tournament… We know it’s a decisive game for qualification.”
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