France midfielder N’Golo Kante started Sunday’s World Cup final against Croatia despite suffering from a stomach bug.
The Chelsea midfielder began the match alongside Paul Pogba in the heart of Didier Deschamps’ midfield but was replaced by Stephen N’Zonzi after 55 minutes.
The 27-year-old had endured an uncharacteristically sloppy first-half where he was slow to close down goal scorer Ivan Perisic when Croatia briefly drew level after 28 minutes – having already picked up a yellow card.
Le Parisien report however Kante was suffering with gastroenteritis on the biggest day of his international career, explaining that was the most likely reason for the midfielder’s surprise withdrawal.
The introduction of N’Zonzi in place of the Chelsea midfielder helped France regain control of the contest with Pogba and Kylian Mbappe finding the target from long range in the 10 minutes that followed his introduction. Despite an out of sorts display at the Luzhniki Stadium, Kante played a pivotal role in Les Blues reaching the final. The tireless midfielder returned to the pitch to join in with joyous post-match celebrations with N’Zonzi retrieving the trophy from Florian Thauvin and handing it to Kante – who was seemingly too shy to ask for it himself.
Prior to his substitution on Sunday, Kante had been ever-present in the France starting XI in Russia, starting and completing each of their six matches prior to the final.
story courtesy Metro UK