France's over Australia in their opening game of the group stage on Tuesday didn't come without some suffering. Les Bleus left back Lucas Hernandez left the game only 13 minutes in during the Socceroos' scoring sequence with what was later diagnosed via MRI as a rupture of the ACL in his right knee, according to the French Football Federation.
It's an injury that will not only see his World Cup come to an end but will also see him sidelined for Bayern Munich for the foreseeable future as the German club prepares for the Champions League knockout stage in February.
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Hernandez was replaced by his younger brother Theo Hernandez, who registered an assist in the match, but there is now only one left back remaining in Didier Deschamps' squad.
To make matters worse for Deschamps, when Karim Benzema went down with an injury that kept him from participating in this World Cup, he chose not to field a replacement, so now he's left with only 24 members for France's remaining matches. It has been a World Cup with an absolute deluge of injuries for France with Presnal Kimpembe and Christopher Nkunku also being replaced from the original roster while N'Golo Kante, Paul Pogba and others weren't fit enough to be selected.
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At this stage, someone will need to play out of position at left back if Hernandez can't play while Benjamin Pavard and Jules Kounde are the only defenders with experience playing on the right flank. If France are able to keep their free-flowing attack led by Oliver Giroud and Kylian Mbappe moving during the World Cup, they may not need to defend much. But as we get deeper into the tournament, the yellow cards may begin to pile up and the lack of defensive depth will be something to watch.
Recent history isn't on France's side as four of the past five champions have crashed out in the group stage of the subsequent World Cup. It's a trend that began in 2002 after Les Bleus captured their first World Cup title in 1998, and it's a taboo they could essentially destroy this time around in Qatar.