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France have strengthened as key players return to training ahead of the World Cup final

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By Jaime Spencer

France received a welcome boost ahead of Sunday’s World Cup final, with Raphael Varane, Kingsley Coman and Ibrahima Konate training on Saturday.

Also present at the session were Aurelien Tchouameni and Theo Hernandez after seemingly overcoming small blows following their semi-final victory over Morocco.

The group reported that none of the five were present at Friday’s practice, but were present at the start of Saturday’s session. Only the first 15 minutes of training are open to the media, so it’s not yet clear how much the players in question were able to participate in the end.

However, it was a huge boost for France just 24 hours before the final against Argentina.

A virus which had caused some players in the squad to develop fever and flu-like symptoms was threatening to tear the squad apart in recent days.

Adrien Rabiot and Dayot Upamecano had also fallen ill and consequently missed the match against Morocco.

Speaking when Coman was confirmed to be unwell, manager Didier Deschamps had said extra care was being taken to ensure no other players would be affected.

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“We’re trying to be careful so it doesn’t spread. The players put in a lot of effort on the pitch and obviously their immune systems suffered.

Konate, who was too ill even to leave his room on Friday, and after Varane got sick. But now the couple appear to have recovered and no more cases of the virus have been reported, suggesting that preventative measures have worked.

Had France been without Varane, Konate and Upamecano, they would have been cut to the bone in defence, which could have forced a reshuffle by pushing Jules Kounde from right-back or bringing in William Saliba and/or Axel Disasi from full-back deep into the game biggest there is.

This article was originally posted on 90min.com as France have strengthened as key players return to training ahead of the World Cup final.