Head coach Didier Deschamps might not have Dembele as a starter but certainly used him in France's two Euro games so far.
World champions France were dealt a blow in their quest to capture the Euro 2020. Ousmane Dembele has been ruled out of the rest of the competition with a knee injury. The French Football Federation confirmed the unfortunate news on Monday. The Barcelona winger was taken off towards the end of the second half during France’s match against on Saturday. X-rays on Sunday evening showed that the 24-year-old would not be able to participate in any further Euro 2020 matches. As per UEFA guidelines, the world champions are not allowed to call up a player to stand in as a replacement for Dembele. That rule only applies in case a goalkeeper is injured.
In terms of the team, France will not have that much of a problem coping without Dembele. Their squad depth is exceptional with the likes of Kingsley Coman, who plays exactly where Dembele does, available to them. They also have versatile players like Antoine Griezmann and Kylian Mbappe who can get a decent job done on the right-hand side up the pitch.
However, it will be excruciatingly demoralizing for the player. Throughout his career, Dembele has had a history of injury problems. He was revered as a special talent during his time at Borussia Dortmund, and was then bought by the mighty FC Barcelona. However, things have been far from good for the Frenchman. Injury after injury has prevented him from playing good football for an extended period of time. The 24-year-old must have hoped to re-establish himself as a quality football player in Euro 2020, but that will not happen anymore.
Head coach Didier Deschamps might not have Dembele as a starter but certainly used him in France’s two Euro games so far. He was brought on as a substitute in both and got some good minutes under his belt. He even put in decent performances, well enough to be a part of the French national side. However, things have changed and it seems like Deschamps will have to hand ove the responsibility to Bayern Munich’s Kingsley Coman for the rest of the tournament. Coman is yet to feature for the Frrench in Euro 2020.
Dembele came on as a substitute, replacing Adrien Rabiot in both matches. He played for the last few seconds against Germany, and a good half an hour against Hungary before limping off. He even struck the post in the latter.
Despite the squad depth, Deschamps has to be wary of his squad’s fitness levels ahead of their final group match against defending champions Portugal. The Portuguese will no doubt field a full-strength side in a bid to top the group. France’s ranks might not have that luxury.
Apart from Dembele, France have a fair few fitness issues. Four players are currently nursing injuries and it is unsure whether they will play a part in the match against Portugal. These are Karim Benzema, Lucas Hernandez, Kingsley Coman, and Antoine Griezmann. Defender Benjamin Pavard also picked up a knock during the Hungary game.