Following a late call-up for Axel Disasi, who becomes the 72nd AS Monaco player to represent France, six players will trade the Principality for Qatar for this month’s World Cup.
Only two Ligue 1 clubs, Rennes (8) and Paris Saint-Germain (11) will see more players jet off to Doha this week. As well as Disasi, Youssouf Fofana (France), Breel Embolo (Switzerland), Takumi Minamino (Japan), Ïsmail Jakobs (Senegal) and Krépin Diatta (Senegal) will also fly out for the tournament.
France are looking to defend their 2018 title, but have received multiple injury setbacks in recent weeks. Ngolo Kanté and Paul Pogba’s absences in Les Bleus‘ midfield mean that Fofana, who was only capped by France for the first time in September, is likely to recreate last season’s AS Monaco midfield, partnering Aurélien Tchouaméni. Disasi, who has never made a France squad prior to his late call-up, replaces Presnel Kimpembe, who was deemed unfit for the tournament.
Embolo heads into the World Cup in fine form after hitting the ground running since his summer move from Borussia Mönchengladbach, whilst Minamino has the pressure of being a key figure in an ambitious Japan side.
Senegal, the champions of Africa, also go into the World Cup with high expectations, even despite a late injury to Sadio Mané, which still threatens his participation in the tournament. Jakobs is a late addition to the side after only recently switching his international allegiance from Germany to Senegal. Diatta, who missed Senegal’s successful AFCON campaign last winter due to a cruciate ligament injury, will be hoping to make up for lost time.
Two OGC Nice players on their way to the World Cup
Just down the coast at OGC Nice, two of the club’s summer signings, Kasper Schmeichel (Denmark) and Aaron Ramsey (Wales) will also be heading to Qatar this week. The latter will compete against fierce rivals England in the group stages of the tournament.
The World Cup, the first to be held in winter, gets underway on Sunday 20th November with hosts Qatar facing Ecuador. The usual hype around the tournament has been heavily tainted by the controversial choice of host, with Qatar’s human rights record and attitude toward homosexuality making the headlines in global media.