“Crisis in the French Camp: Injuries Plague Defense Ahead of European Qualifier Against Netherlands”

Joe Lee

Malo Gusto and Axel Disasi have been called up as injury substitutes for France’s match against the Netherlands in European Championship qualifying.

The two players take the place of defenders Jules Kounde and Dayot Upamecano, according to the French football association, as the French squad convened at the team’s training camp outside Paris on Monday.

On Friday, France will face the Netherlands in Amsterdam. On October 17, Les Bleus will play a friendly against Scotland in Lille, France.

On Sunday, Kounde suffered a left knee injury while playing for Barcelona in La Liga. This weekend, Upamecano suffered a hamstring injury while playing for Bayern Munich.

Their withdrawals follow that of Arsenal defender William Saliba, who was replaced Sunday by Jean-Clair Todibo in France’s squad.

France lead Group B and will qualify for the tournament hosted by Germany next year if it beats the Netherlands, or if they draw and Greece lose against Ireland.

Bukayo Saka also will not join up with England for the international fixtures.

Saka missed a Premier League game for the first time since May, 2021 as Arsenal earned a 1-0 win over Premier League champions Manchester City on Sunday, ending a streak of 87 consecutive appearances.

His failure to recover from a hamstring injury will keep Saka out of England’s friendly against Australia on October 13 and the European Championship qualifier against Italy four days later.

England manager Gareth Southgate said he would be cautious with Saka.

European soccer’s governing body Uefa has postponed all matches scheduled to take place in Israel over the next two weeks after Hamas’ attack.

“In light of the current security situation in Israel, UEFA has decided to postpone all matches scheduled in Israel in the next couple of weeks with new dates to be confirmed in due course,” Uefa said in a statement on Sunday.

That includes Israel’s match against Switzerland in 2024 European Championship qualifying, which had been scheduled for Thursday at Tel Aviv’s Bloomfield Stadium.

“UEFA will continue to closely monitor the situation and will remain in contact with all teams involved before making decisions on new dates and on potential changes to other upcoming fixtures,” Uefa said.

Israel’s Euro 2024 qualifier at Kosovo on October 15 could also be affected with Uefa saying it “reserves a few more days to assess” whether the match can take place on that date “or requires postponement.”

Israel’s European Under-21 Championship qualifiers against Estonia and Germany on Thursday and October 17, respectively, have also been postponed.

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