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Arsenal 21yo set for 1st World Cup start on Wednesday

  • Sports

By Dan Critchlow

France’s defender William Saliba (C) gets up to head the ball during the UEFA Nations League football match between Denmark and France in Copenhagen on September 25, 2022. (Photo by FRANCK FIFE/AFP via Getty Images)

L’Equipe (via GFFN) report that William Saliba is set to be one of the players coming into the France team for their final group stage match against Tunisia on Wednesday.

Didier Deschamps’ side go into the final match having already qualified for the knockout stages, simply looking to secure top spot in the group by avoiding a defeat.

Even a defeat could be enough to finish top, depending on the result in the other game, so this is a very low-stakes opportunity to give a few players their World Cup debuts.

L’Equipe claim Saliba looks set to partner Raphael Varane in the defence, though interestingly, it seems the Arsenal man is set to play at left centre-back.

Saliba normally plays at right centre-back for Arsenal, but he’s played on the left plenty of times for other clubs.

Along with Saliba, the likes of Eduardo Camavinga, Benjamin Pavard, Steve Mandanda, Youssouf Fofana, and Kingsley Coman are all expected to come into the team against Tunisia.

fbl fra training friendly
(from L) France’s defender Presnel Kimpembe, France’s defender Jonathan Clauss and France’s defender William Saliba attend a training session in Clairefontaine-en-Yvelines near Paris on March 27, 2022, ahead of the friendly football match against South Africa. (Photo by FRANCK FIFE/AFP via Getty Images)

Though the match may be low stakes from a team perspective, this is an opportunity for Saliba to show he can be trusted at the tournament.

It’s not hard to argue that France still don’t have an obvious first-choice back four right now, given how much they’ve rotated from game to game.

A good performance here could get the Arsenal man into Deschamps’ thinking for the later fixtures.

As the World Cup takes place in a country where being LGBTQ+ is illegal, please also remember that “Qatari authorities have failed to investigate the deaths of thousands of migrant workers over the past decade, despite evidence of links between premature deaths and unsafe working conditions,” according to Amnesty International.

Source: Daily Cannon.