Raphael Varane has admitted he “wasn’t well” after a virus impacted the France camp ahead of the World Cup final.
France lost on penalties after a 3-3 draw, with Didier Deschamps’ side performing especially poorly in the first 80 minutes of the match.
Varane and captain Hugo Lloris said they were “empty” and “drained”, while the former added that he “wasn’t well”.
France were hit by the sickness bug some time after their 2-1 victory over England on December 10.
Three days later, two players who started that game — defender Dayot Upamecano and midfielder Adrien Rabiot — missed training because they felt unwell. Neither man played in the subsequent 2-0 semi-final victory over Morocco.
On Thursday, Deschamps said Kingsley Coman felt unwell. And, before the final against Argentina, France confirmed that Raphael Varane and Ibrahima Konate had fallen victim to the bug.
Upamecano, Rabiot, Varane and Konate started the final, while Coman came off the bench.
“We’re not going to hide behind excuses,” said Lloris. “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.”
Lloris also said that France were “eaten up” during the first-half, after which they trailed 2-0, blaming that spell on their eventual loss.
“The only regret we have is that first half, when we went completely wrong,” he said. “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. This extra-time was a bit crazy, I have in mind these two actions at 3-3 where we can score. It’s painful.
“But you have to give a lot of credit to the French team with everything that happened. We held on to our 2018 World Cup title.”
France sickness before the World Cup final explained
(Photo: Julian Finney/Getty Images)