Varane: 'We can cope without Mbappé and Lloris'
France captain Raphaël Varane believes the 2018 FIFA World Cup winners will be able to compensate for the injury-enforced absences of Kylian Mbappé and Hugo Lloris in Friday's UEFA EURO 2020 qualifier in Iceland.
Friday, 11 October, 2019
UEFA EURO 2020 Qualifying
Iceland - France (kick-off 20:45CEST)
Starting the game locked on points with Turkey at the top of Group H and three points ahead of their hosts, France can take a step towards next summer's multicultural final tournament by becoming the first team to win in Iceland in six years.
But Didier Deschamps is without Paris Saint-Germain's Mbappé, who is still recovering from a thigh injury sustained earlier in the season, and Tottenham Hotspur goalkeeper Lloris, who dislocated an elbow last weekend.
With Lloris — Les Bleus' usual captain — sidelined, Varane will wear the armband, and insists the squad will combine to fill the void left by the absence of two key players.
"It won't change my way of being or doing things. I'm going to try and help my teammates as best possible. There are players with character. We have to create a positive atmosphere together," explained the Real Madrid defender.
"It's never good to have players missing like that, but it's part of the ups and downs of a season. What you have to try and do is maintain the squad's dynamic, the same level of play, of rigour and performance. We're fortunate to have a lot of quality players in France. This gives them an opportunity to show their qualities and take the team forward."
Manchester United's Paul Pogba also remains sidelined with an ankle injury, while Olympique Lyonnais' Léo Dubois has also had to withdraw from the squad.
Bayern Munich defender Lucas Hernandez is expected to feature after shaking off a knee injury as Deschamps' men — who beat Iceland 4-0 earlier in the qualifying campaign and have never lost to tonight's opponents — seek to become the first team to win in Iceland in ten visits before a potential top-spot decider at home to Turkey on Monday.
"It's an important statistic. It means it's very difficult to win here. We expect a tough game. We've taken that element into account in our preparation," said Varane of the hosts' unbeaten record, which has seen them win seven of their last nine encounters on home soil.
"We have to adapt to the context. It's going to be cold, there'll perhaps be some win. It'll be one more factor that will make the game tough, but we're ready for that."
Iceland: Halldorsson - Hermannsson, Sigurdsson, Arnason, Skulason - Gudmundsson, Bjarnason, Sigurdsson, Sigurjonnsonn - Sigthorsson, Bodvarsson
France: Mandanda - Pavard, Varane, Lenglet, Hernandez - Tolisso, Kanté - Coman, Griezmann, Matuidi - Giroud