DOHA ( Associated Press) – A flu virus has spread to the France squad ahead of Sunday’s World Cup final against Argentina, affecting at least three team players.
Coach Didier Deschamps confirmed that two players suffering from symptoms, defender Dayot Upamecano and midfielder Adrien Rabiot, had to be isolated from the rest of the group this week. Both did not appear in France’s 2–0 semi-final victory against Morocco.
Rabiot did not make the list for the duel played at the Al Bayt Stadium on Wednesday. Upamecano appeared as a substitute, but did not enter. Deschamps said Upamecano was still recovering after “three tough days” after playing in Saturday’s quarter-final against England.
The coach, who also reported winger Kingsley Coman complaining of fever, said, “However, we have four days until the next game, so he should be available for Sunday.”
Deschamps insisted he anticipates having all his players for the final against Argentina
“This is flu season and in that sense we have to be vigilant,” he said. “Another point, the players have to make huge physical efforts and their immune system is affected.”
France stressed on trains outside in Qatar and Deschamps said “the air-conditioning is on all the time and this can affect” how the virus spreads. He echoed previous comments on the Brazil rally.
Seven of the eight World Cup stadiums use air conditioning at field level. Building interiors and public transport in Qatar are air-conditioned.
Switzerland also suffered a series of bad winters, and two of their starters were ruled out for the deciding match against Serbia at the end of the group stage.
Daytime heat hovered in the 25–27 °C (77–81 Fahrenheit) range in Qatar for the final week of the month-long tournament, which kicked off with temperatures in the upper 30s (in the 90s range).
The dates for the first World Cup in the Middle East have been changed. It has been rescheduled for the months of November and December instead of the traditional period of June and July, when temperatures in Qatar exceed 40 C (104 F).
“The temperature has dropped in recent days and you have to take care of yourself all the time,” Deschamps said. “As for the virus, the truth is I’m not worried.”