Raphael Varane has stated that the virus going through the French squad impacted their performance in the World Cup final.
France failed to win their second World Cup in a row, losing on penalties to Argentina in a thrilling final that saw them come back from 2-0 down at the end of normal time before equalising again after going behind in extra time.
They were ultimately able to field a full-strength team for the match but the squad wasn’t fully fit with a number of players falling victim to a virus in the final week of the tournament.
Varane was one of those players and had to be subbed off after 113 minutes in the final, barely able to stand due to exhaustion.
He has since confirmed that the illness took its toll on him, stating that he ‘wasn’t well’ as per The Athletic, after captain Hugo Lloris admitted that they were ’empty’ and ‘drained’.
Lloris didn’t want to use the virus as an excuse for their defeat but does believe that it, along with the fact that France had one less recovery day than Argentina, made things harder for them.
“We’re not going to hide behind excuses,” he said. “It hasn’t been easy over the last few days. Despite the virus, we tried to prepare for the match in the best way possible. One less recovery day may have counted, too.”
Looking back on the match, the goalkeeper has regrets over their first-half performance, which saw them go 2-0 down, but is proud of how they responded.
“The only regret we have is that first half, when we went completely wrong,” he added.
“We got eaten up in every aspect of the game. Despite that, in the second half, we came back with different intentions.
“We felt we had room to come back. We did it, also thanks to the talent of Kylian [Mbappe] who was able to carry the team at an important moment.”