France winger Franck Ribery is suffering from a lower back problem which is severely hampering his preparations for this month`s World Cup, a national team official confirmed to AFP on Monday. Ribery missed France`s 1-1 draw with Paraguay at Nice`s Allianz Riviera in the second of their three world cup warm up matches and the Bayern Munich forward faces a battle against time to be fit for Sunday`s game with Jamaica.
“He`s had this problem for over six weeks,” the France official said. “He has had further tests at a Paris hospital and visited a specialist on Saturday morning before leaving for Nice. “Since then, he has been following a programme aimed at getting him ready in under a week.” The news confirmed suggestions made by coach Didier Deschamps, who said after Sunday`s draw with Paraguay that “the aim is to have him available for the match against Jamaica next Sunday.”
In Ribery`s absence, France were denied a second consecutive victory in their world cup preparations after Victor Caceres cancelled out Antoine Griezmann`s late goal with a header a minute from time. Les Bleus beat Norway 4-0 in Paris in their first buildup match and Deschamps remained upbeat about his side`s performance, despite their inability to hold on against a Paraguay side who failed to qualify for the World Cup.
“We can`t win every match 4-0 but there were a lot of good things tonight,” he said. “On the free kick at the end, we probably retreated too much into our own box but we were playing a good team who know how to defend. “We were not at full strength but we had good intentions and there were positives.”
Deschamps will announce his final 23-man squad for Brazil later Monday, but the 45-year-old was quick to quash any rumours suggesting that Ribery was set to miss the World Cup, telling reporters not to expect any big surprises.
“Nothing has chanced since yesterday,” he said on Sunday. What do you expect to have happened in the last 24 hours?” “Nothing serious happened during the match, so there are no changes which need to be made.”