- France defeated Australia 4-1 in their campaign opener
- Lucas Hernandez limped off the pitch in the first half
- France are the defending World Cup champions
Defending champions France have suffered another setback as defender Lucas Hernandez has been ruled out of FIFA World Cup 2022 due to his injury.
Hernandez ruptured the Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) in his right knee during France’s 4-1 win over Australia in Group D Tuesday. Following an MRI Wednesday, the World Cup holders confirmed that the Bayern Munich center-back was ruled out of the remainder of the tournament in Qatar.
France took to social media to wish 26-year-old Hernandez “the best possible recovery.”
Hernandez injured himself in the 13th minute in the build-up of Australia’s only goal in the match. After being beaten by the ball from forward Mathew Leckie, who delivered the cross for Craig Goodwin’s opening goal for Australia, Hernandez went down the ground holding his knee.
A few minutes later, he limped off the pitch and was replaced by his brother Theo, who plays for Serie A club AC Milan.
“He needs to do some tests but it seems pretty serious. That’s the big black spot tonight,” France boss Didier Deschamps said after the game Tuesday.
“Like the whole group, I am extremely sorry for Lucas. We are losing an important element. Lucas is a warrior and I have no doubt that he will do everything to get back to the fore,” Deschamps added.
Hernandez has joined France’s growing injury list. Ballon d’Or winner Karim Benzema recently was ruled out of the tournament after suffering a knee injury in training Saturday, following on from fellow striker Christopher Nkunku, defender Presnel Kimpembe and long-term absentees Paul Pogba and N’Golo Kante.
After Benzema’s injury, France decided not to call in a replacement, which left Deschamps with 25 players. With Hernandez’s ruling out, France’s squad has now been reduced to 24 players. The Bayern Munich defender is likely to be out for the remainder of the 2022-23 campaign.
Meanwhile, France head coach Deschamps heaped praise on forward Kylian Mbappe, calling him “one of the best players in the world.”
“Kylian of course has been one of the best players in the world for some time now and he is feeling very confident, you can see that in the way he is playing. I knew that he was going to be ready for this World Cup, it is his competition, he knows how to make a difference. He is part of a team and he has always been able to play as part of a team even though he is an individual, flair player as well. So that is great for us. I have got a lot of attackers, but Kylian is of course an outstanding one,” Deschamps said.