France’s defender N’golo Kante (R) is comforted by France’s coach Didier Deschamps (C) after he was substituted during the FIFA World Cup 2018 qualifying football match between Bulgaria and France at The Vasil Levski Stadium in Sofia on October 7, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Nikolay DOYCHINOV
Chelsea midfielder N‘Golo Kante has been ruled out of France’s final 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifier at home to Belarus on Tuesday due to a muscle injury.
National team coach Didier Deschamps disclosed this after Kante limped off shortly after half an hour and was replaced by Adrien Rabiot during France’s 1-0 away win over Bulgaria on Saturday.
The 1998 champions have now moved within touching distance of qualifying for next year’s World Cup in Russia.
“I can’t count on him for the next game. It’s a muscular problem behind the thigh,“ Deschamps said. ”Kante and Rabiot pretty much swapped. It is fixed for Tuesday.
“N‘Golo had a crucial part to play, obviously. After N‘Golo’s injury, Adrien Rabiot came on in the same role, maybe not with the same quality as N‘Golo.”
Les Bleus lead Group A with 20 points, one ahead of Sweden, and will qualify directly for the World Cup if they beat Belarus.