DOHA ( Associated Press) — Raphael Varane and Ibrahima Konate were among five France players who missed training on Friday, two days before the World Cup final against Argentina.
According to French media, the two central players will be the most recent members of the team to be affected by the virus.
The other three – Diot Upamecano, Adrien Rabiot and Kingsley Coman – suffered concussions early in the week and had to isolate themselves from the rest of their teammates.
Upamecano and Rabiot returned to training on Friday, but Koeman was still absent. Theo Hernandez and Aurelien Tchoumeni were also absent.
French winger Ousmane Dembele said he and his team-mates are not concerned that several key players have fallen ill in the run-up to the final.
“We are not,” said Dembele. “We are not afraid of the virus. Both Dyot and Adrien had a headache, some upset stomach.”
Dembele laughed and said, “I made him ginger and honey tea and he liked it.”
Forward Randall Kuolo Mani explained that the team’s medical services have set up sanitary spaces and the players are taking great precautions.
“Those who have fallen ill have stayed in their rooms,” Kuolo Mani said. “The doctors have given him excellent treatment, and we’re washing our hands of it. There’s gel for everyone before we go to the table, we shake our fists. We’re very strict.”
Coach Didier Deschamps has said that his players’ immune systems “may be a little compromised” because of the intensity of the tournament. He also stressed that “the use of air conditioning can also affect” how the virus spreads.