France are expected to be without both Lucas Hernandez and Lucas Digne for their Euro 2020 last 16 clash against Switzerland on Monday, which will force coach Didier Deschamps into an emergency reshuffle to cover the hole their absence leaves at left-back.
Hernandez had already missed France’s second Group F game against Hungary with a knee problem and lasted only 45 minutes of the crunch fixture against Portugal. Digne replaced him at half-time but was himself forced off with injury only a few minutes into the second half.
French broadcaster RMC has reported that scans have revealed no long-term concerns about either Hernandez or Digne, which should mean both are fit to return later in the tournament – if France progress. For now, however, neither is likely to feature against Switzerland in Bucharest.
Both players will continue to be assessed each day, but for neither to be completely ruled out is said to be more promising news than the French camp were initially expecting.
The issue for Deschamps will be finding appropriate cover at left-back against the Swiss.
Adrien Rabiot replaced Digne on the pitch against Portugal and would be considered a contender to fill in, while Presnel Kimpembe is left-footed and has very occasionally played at left-back in the past. However, the PSG man has started every game at centre-back and moving him out of the middle could cause more disruption than finding an alternative left-back.
Right-backs Benjamin Pavard and Leo Dubois are both versatile enough to temporarily play on the left, whether that means Dubois comes straight into the team at left-back or Pavard switches to the left and is then replaced on the right by either Dubois or Jules Kounde.
Pavard was actually left out of the 2-2 draw with Portugal following concerns over his performances against Germany and Hungary, which may have been the result of knocks in both games.
Although naturally a centre-back, Kounde replaced him in the lineup against Portugal to make only the second appearance of his senior international career.