World Cup: Franck Ribery Ruled Out In Double Blow For France
Another day, another star player ruled out of the 2014 World Cup. France is the latest team to suffer a hammer blow after playmaker Franck Ribery failed to overcome a back injury.
Ribery, who plays club football for German champions Bayern Munich, had been battling the problem ahead of France's opening Group E match against Honduras on June 15.
The 31-year-old had been following an individual training regime, but was forced to pull out of his first full session back with the squad.
It was a doubly bad day for France coach Didier Deschamps as Lyon midfielder Clement Grenier's World Cup was ended before it began due to a thigh injury.
'(Ribery) stopped with a strong pain,' Deschamps, who captained France to World Cup glory in 1998, told reporters.
'He had tests early in the afternoon which unfortunately confirmed the severity of the situation, that he will be unavailable for several weeks.'
Ribery, who played for France in the 2006 World Cup final, and Grenier will be replaced in the squad by Montpellier's Remy Cabella and Morgan Schneiderlin of Southampton.
'The two players were on the reserve list and they are similar to the two players who left us,' added Deschamps.
'You cannot copy them exactly but Morgan Schneiderlin is the player most in the profile of Clement Grenier, and Remy Cabella is the most in the profile of Franck Ribery.'
Ribery is the latest high-profile player to be ruled out of football's showpiece event.
Colombia striker Radamel Falcao failed in his bid to recover from a knee injury, while reigning world champions Spain will be without the services of Ribery's Bayern teammate Thiago and Barcelona goalkeeper Victor Valdes.
The Netherlands has lost two key players to injury. Roma midfielder Kevin Strootman is out with a long-term knee problem, joining Hamburg's Rafael van der Vaart on the sidelines.
England is missing Arsenal's Theo Walcott for the tournament, while his Arsenal teammate Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is also struggling to play a part in Brazil after injuring himself in Wednesday's friendly against Ecuador.
Fitness doubts also hover over two of the world's finest players.
Uruguay's Luis Suarez is in a race against time to recover from knee surgery, with FIFA Ballon d'Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo also managing a thigh injury and tendonitis in his knee, which has ruled the Real Madrid forward out of Portugal's warmup match against Mexico on Friday.