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Daily Mirror
Daily Mirror
Dan Marsh

Jules Kounde and Ibrahima Konate summoned for drug tests after World Cup semi-final

France stars Ibrahima Konate and Jules Kounde missed out celebrating their World Cup semi-final triumph over Morocco - as they were summoned for drug tests after the match.

Didier Deschamps' side ran out 2-0 winners over plucky underdogs Morocco to book a showdown with Argentina in Sunday's final at Lusail Stadium courtesy of goals from Theo Hernandez and second-half substitute Randal Kolo Muani.

The result means the reigning world champions are just one win away from defending their coveted crown and lifting a third World Cup. But while the majority of Les Blues' stars were able to celebrate into the night, it was a very different story for Konate and Kounde.

The two defenders were selected to provide random doping samples following the match - meaning they were left watching on the sidelines while their teammates celebrated. "We can't even celebrate," Konate explained as he filmed his teammate behind the scenes. "It sucks," Kounde added glumly.

Konate was drafted into the side for the match against Morocco with regular first-choice centre-back Dayot Upamecano ruled out through illness.

The Liverpool ace stepped up and performed heroically alongside Manchester United's Raphael Varane as France were forced keep their opponents at bay.

And Konate's imperious display may have given Les Blues boss Deschamps a major selection headache if Upamecano recovers in time to face Argentina in the World Cup final on Sunday.

Join the debate! Do you think Konate should start for France in Sunday's World Cup final? Let us know here.

Ibrahima Konate was unable to celebrate France's World Cup semi-final triumph due to a random doping test (Michael Regan/FIFA)

Former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher was one of the many pundits singing Konate's praises after the match - and he insisted that the 23-year-old had to start ahead of Upamecano after his semi-final heroics.

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

Whoever is given the nod of partnering Varane in Sunday's seismic showdown at Lusail Stadium will be tasked with stopping Argentina talisman Lionel Messi.

Jules Kounde was also unable to celebrate after France moved a step closer to defending their crown (Franck Fife/AFP)

The Paris Saint-Germain superstar, 35, has been in scintillating form throughout the tournament and will be desperate to create history by winning his first world title after ending up as a losing finalist back in 2014.

But France striker Olivier Giroud has insisted that Deschamps side do not fear the seven-time Ballon d'Or winner. He said: "Messi is an incredible player, but we are not going to let him enjoy the best night he can have.

"We want to win this game. We want to win another World Cup - and we will try everything to stop him. But there is not only Messi in that team. They have got great players who work for the team also. I think that is why they are so strong."

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