Raphael Varane expected to miss first game of World Cup

Jude Summerfield
Varane went off injured against Chelsea
Varane went off injured against Chelsea / Marc Atkins/GettyImages

Raphael Varane's thigh injury is not as bad as first feared but could still keep him out of France's first match at the World Cup if he makes the squad.

The centre back was distraught as he limped off with an injury during Manchester United's 1-1 draw with Chelsea on Saturday night, fuelling fears he could miss the global event in Qatar which kicks off next month.

Les Bleus manager Didier Deschamps is already sweating over the fitness of a number of vital squad members like Paul Pogba, while N'Golo Kante and Mike Maignan have already been ruled out with injuries.

However, the injury to Varane is "less serious than feared", as reports CANAL+ Foot's Damien Dubras. France's first game at the World Cup is against Australia as they aim to retain the crown they earned in 2018 in Russia.

Varane has been a regular in France's starting XI since his debut in 2013 and his absence would open up a potential starting spot for the likes of Dayot Upamecano and William Saliba.

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It's a big blow for United, who have started to build momentum under Erik ten Hag after a difficult start to the season. They snatched a point at Stamford Bridge thanks to Casemiro's last-gasp header, though drama over the absence of Cristiano Ronaldo continues to dominate headlines.