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France’s top XI who are not in World Cup squad would challenge for trophy

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INJURY ravaged France take on England tomorrow for a place in the World Cup semi-finals.

But an XI of French stars NOT in Qatar would be likely to challenge for the tournament on their own.

Lucas Hernandez had his World Cup dream ended just 13 minutes into the opening game of the tournament

Kylian Mbappe will lead the charge against England as part of a star-studded squad, despite Les Bleus losing a number of key players due to injury.

Some were ruled out before Didier Deschamps’ squad arrived in Qatar to defend their crown, others picked up injuries after the plane landed, while Lucas Hernandez suffered heartbreak in the first game.

And for some stars, who would start for most countries on earth, they simply weren’t good enough to make the final team.

Here, SunSport runs through the biggest French stars not at the World Cup.

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GOALKEEPER

Mike Maignan has not played any football since September due to a calf injury.

The 27-year-old AC Milan stopper is seen as the successor to Hugo Lloris, 35, between the sticks.

Maignan has been capped five times by Les Bleus and would almost certainly have been on the plane had he not been crocked.

DEFENDERS

Hernandez was originally in the squad, but had his World Cup ended after just 13 minutes when he ruptured his ACL in the opening group game against Australia.

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Chelsea defender Wesley Fofana also injured his knee earlier in the season, and while he is yet to make a senior appearance for France, the injury ended his chances of making it to Qatar.

Paris Saint-Germain ace Presenal Kimpembe, part of the 2018 World Cup winning squad, has been plagued by hamstring problems this season which saw him miss out.

Nordi Mukiele has been capped once by France and was linked with Chelsea before joining PSG in the summer, but the highly-rated 25-year-old was deemed not good enough for selection.

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MIDFIELDERS

Deschamps knew before the tournament that two of his most important players, Paul Pogba and N’Golo Kante, wouldn’t be fit to make the plane.

Pogba had knee surgery in September that meant he was touch and go for Qatar, before a thigh injury in October ruled him out for good.

While Kante, who played every minute in 2018, has been out since August with a hamstring injury.

Paul Pogba and N'Golo Kante both won the 2018 World Cup with France

FORWARDS

Christopher Nkunku was in line to be an important part of the squad until he was injured in France training the week before the World Cup.

Then just days later Karim Benzema, who was expected to lead the line, was also ruled out.

The Real Madrid ace made it as far as Qatar before tearing his left quad three days before the opening game against Australia.

Anthony Martial and Allan Saint-Maximin on the other hand have both suffered from injury this season, but were fit for selection.

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Yet they were not deemed good enough for the squad.

Manchester United forward Martial has 30 caps to his name, while Newcastle dazzler Saint-Maximin is yet to play for the first-team.

Karim Benzema was ruled out just days before the opening game
Christopher Nkunku picked up an injury shortly before the squad left for Qatar

Source: The Sun

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