PARIS - France coach Didier Deschamps ruled star winger Franck Ribery out of the World Cup yesterday, dealing a huge blow to France's hopes of winning in Brazil.
A back problem, the latest in a series of injuries to hit the 31-year-old Bayern Munich forward this year, flared again yesterday and forced the last-minute change on the shocked French camp.
"We had stepped up his level of work this week and it was in a training session this morning, before even he could join team training, which involved him running and stepping up his routine that he pulled up with a sharp pain in his back," Deschamps told a press conference.
"We had him undergo examinations which unfortunately confirmed that he had aggravated his back problem and there was no question of him being able to either train or play."
Ribery has scored 16 goals in 80 appearances for his country.
Deschamps also announced that midfielder Clement Grenier would not be fit for Brazil because of a thigh injury suffered in the 1-1 draw with Paraguay last Sunday.
He called up Montpellier attacking midfielder Remy Cabella and Southampton's Morgan Schneiderlin as replacements.