Tired, unsure and wounded, French footballers limp into last eight of Euro 2020

·2-min read

The French have qualified for the Euro 2020 quarter-finals, where they will meet Switzerland on Monday in the Romanian capital, Bucharest. But they will have less time to prepare than their Swiss opponents, and the injury list in the French squad is growing at an alarming rate.

They have got this far, topping their tough qualifying group, but the French will bring fatigue, uncertainty and a crowd of injured players to Monday's quarter-final against Switzerland.

Having already lost the services of Barcelona winger Ousmane Dembele to a knee injury earlier in the competition, there are now doubts about the fitness of Lucas Digne (thigh) and Luca Hernandez (knee), both forced off before the end of the last match, against Portugal. Worse, Thursday's long and muscular training session left Thomas Lemar and Marcus Thuram needing the help of the squad's medical team.

Lemar hurt his left leg in a collision with goalkeeper teammate Mike Maignan, while Thuram limped away from the group holding the inside of his right thigh following a rapid change of direction while sprinting.

Digne and Hernandez both still feature on the squad list for Monday's game, but team manager Didier Deschamps admits that the signs are not promising, especially in the case of Digne.

Mid-fielder Adrien Rabiot has been taking it easy in training since the Portuguese clash because of an ankle worry.

Competition rules forbid the calling up of additional players to replace those injured, with the sole exception of goalkeepers.

So Deschamps may be forced to field a three-man defence, give the left side duties to PSG's Presnel Kimpembe, or play one of his right-sided reserves out of position.

A question of confidence

Whoever finally makes the starting line-up, the French will start Monday's match with a question mark over their ability to defend and score goals.

They have already conceded three goals to defensive errors . . . by Pavard, Lloris and Koundé. Despite boasting a razor-sharp attack in Benzema, Mbappé and Griezmann, the hoped-for goals are not being scored.

But France have emerged unbeaten from the so-called "group of death," which they shared with defending champions Portugal, the always challenging Germans, and an enterprising Hungarian team roared on by a stadium full of noisy supporters.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting