Raphael Varane expected to miss first game of World Cup 2022


Raphael Varane’s thigh injury is not as bad as first feared but could still keep him out of France’s first match at the World Cup if he makes the squad.

The centre-back was upset when he limped off with an injury during Manchester United’s 1-1 draw with Chelsea on Saturday night, sparking fears he could miss the global event in Qatar, which starts next month.

Les Bleus manager Didier Deschamps is already sweating over the fitness of a number of vital squad members such as Paul Pogba, while N’Golo Kante and Mike Maignan have already been ruled out through injury.

However, Varane’s injury is “less serious than feared,” according to CANAL+ Foot’s Damien Dubras. France’s first match at the World Cup is against Australia as they aim to retain the crown they won in Russia 2018.

Varane has been a regular in France’s starting XI since his debut in 2013 and his absence would open up a potential starting spot for the likes of Dayot Upamecano and William Saliba.

It’s a big blow for United, who have started to build momentum under Erik ten Hag after a difficult start to the season. They grabbed a point at Stamford Bridge thanks to Casemiro’s last-gasp header, although the drama surrounding Cristiano Ronaldo’s absence continues to dominate the headlines.

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