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Daily Mirror
Daily Mirror
Rich Jones

Ibrahima Konate misses France celebrations after World Cup semi-final heroics

Ibrahima Konate came into the France team and played a crucial role as they reached the World Cup final.

Konate was one of two enforced changes from the team that beat England in the quarter-finals, replacing Dayot Upamecano as the defender and Adrien Rabiot were ruled out due to illness. After being preferred to Arsenal's William Saliba to fill in alongside Raphael Varane, the Liverpool ace stepped up with a stunning performance.

But Konate was unable to enjoy the well-deserved celebrations after their 2-0 win over Morocco after being pulled in for doping tests after the game. Konate and fellow defender Jules Kounde were pulled in to give samples by officials as their teammates continued celebrating in the dressing room.

"We can't even celebrate," Konate said as he filmed his teammate behind the scenes. "It sucks," Kounde replied.

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Konate's performance will have no doubt given manager Didier Deschamps some food for thought as he considers his defensive options for the final. He also caught the eye of ex-Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher, who led praise for him on social media.

Carragher wrote on Twitter : "The French MOM was @IbrahimaKonate_. I can’t see how he can be left out of the starting eleven in the final!"

Whilst Konate was a defensive lynchpin against a determined Morocco side, midfielder Antoine Griezmann was also praised for his defensive work. Paul Pogba compared him to N'Golo Kante on Instagram, an assessment echoed by Didier Drogba covering the game for BBC.

Ibrahima Konate was forced to miss France's celebrations as he was called for a doping test (AFP via Getty Images)

"It is very surprising," Drogba said. "But he has the intelligence and the quality to do it. He looks more like Kanté than Griezmann."

Rio Ferdinand added: "We could show some great clips of him going forward and creating stuff, but we could show clips just as good if not better of him defensively, and that shows you his all-round game and the impact he’s having on this team."

Konate stepped in and was rock solid with an impressive display vs Morocco (AFP via Getty Images)

At the other end of the pitch, Randal Kolo Muani came off the bench and put the game to bed with the second goal having only been on the pitch a matter of moments.

He told TF1 after the game: “It’s magical, I don’t have the words to describe it. We have to give ourselves the means to go all the way.

"I’m still in a dream, I’m finding it hard to wake up. It’s a good thing I followed Kylian, he’s the one who did all the work. I can be proud of my positioning. Right now it still hasn’t sunk in. We’ll realise it tomorrow morning.”

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