France have been given the mother of all injury scares after Kylian Mbappe Lotin was forced to leave their first World Cup training session in Russia after suffering a blow to the ankle in a clash with team-mate Adil Rami.
Les Bleus continued preparations for the World Cup at the Glebovets Stadium in Istra on Tuesday, but Didier Deschamps’s session came to a grinding halt when Mbappe went down in apparent agony.
The 18-year-old came off worse in a challenge with defender Rami and stayed down for several minutes, receiving treatment from physios before trudging off the training pitch to have his injury assessed.
Mbappe left the session without the help of a walking aid, but any damage would threaten his participation in France’s opening World Cup group game against Australia on Saturday.
France would still be expected to beat Australia without the PSG forward, but losing one of their star players at any point during the month-long tournament would be considered a major blow.
There is currently no news regarding the severity of the injury, but should Mbappe be ruled out for a significant portion of the tournament, Deschamps would have to turn to his stand-by list.
Manchester United star Anthony Martial would be the favourite to be called up as a replacement, but Arsenal’s Alexandre Lacazette and Bayern Munich’s Kingsley Coman could also be selected after being named on the stand-by list.
Despite his youth, Mbappe flew to Russia on Monday as one of the tournament’s most recognisable figures and was expected to play a key role in France’s bid to win their second World Cup.
The 1998 winners also face South American side Peru and fellow Europeans Denmark in Group C and they are heavy favourites to progress to the knockout rounds as winners.
Mbappe scored 13 goals and assisted a further eight in 27 Ligue 1 appearances for PSG last season, his first since sealing a £168million move from Monaco last summer