France have suffered yet another injury blow after Lucas Hernandez was ruled out of the World Cup.
The Bayern Munich left-back limped off the pitch in the first half of Les Bleus’ opening game against Australia on Tuesday, which they won 4-1.
France confirmed the worst fears on Wednesday morning.
“Lucas Hernandez has had to pull out of the World Cup after rupturing the ACL in his right knee. The whole squad wishes him the best possible recovery,” France’s official Twitter account said.
Hernandez was replaced by his brother, AC Milan full-back Theo Hernandez, 13 minutes into the game.
The defender’s withdrawal leaves Didier Deschamps with just 24 players in his squad, rather than the maximum 26, after he decided against calling up a replacement for Karim Benzema at the weekend.
"I am extremely sorry for Lucas," said Deschamps.
"We are losing an important element. Lucas is a warrior and I have no doubt he will do everything possible to return to the game. On behalf of the group, I wish him the best possible recovery."
Ballon d’Or winner Benzema was forced to bow out of the tournament through injury on the eve of the tournament starting.
France are also without the likes of Christopher Nkunku, Paul Pogba, N’Golo Kante, Presnel Kimpembe and Mike Maignan in Qatar.
They got their title defence off to a strong start against Australia.
Craig Goodwin gave the Socceroos a shock early lead, but France responded strongly as goals from Adrien Rabiot, Kylian Mbappe and an Olivier Giroud brace saw them earn a comfortable win.
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