France suffer Dembele setback / Gilmour blow for Scotland

Warren Ashurst
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June 21st 2021, 1:16 pm
Last Updated 4 weeks ago
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France forward Ousmane Dembele will miss the rest of Euro 2020 due to injury, whilst Scotland will be without Billy Gilmour for their final Group D encounter after he tested positive for Covid-19.

Dembele will play no further part in the tournament after suffering a knee injury in Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Hungary in Budapest.

The Barcelona ace came on as a second-half substitute but was forced off after just 30 minutes, having suffered a problem to his right knee.

The world champions knew Dembele would miss their last home Group F game, against Portugal on Wednesday, but hoped that the 24-year-old would be available if they progressed into the knockout stages.

Scans though have revealed that the Frenchman has suffered damage to a tendon in his knee and that means he will play no further part in the tournament.

Although losing a player of Dembele’s quality is a blow for France, Le Bleus are very well off for attacking players in their squad, with the likes of Kingsley Coman and Marcus Thuram waiting in the wings for their chance.

Meanwhile, the absence of midfielder Gilmour will be a big setback for Scotland’s hopes of making the knockout stages for the first time in their history.

The Chelsea youngster was outstanding in the middle of the park during the Scot’s 0-0 draw with rivals England at Wembley on Friday night.

Gilmour seemed almost certain to keep his place in Steve Clarke’s starting line-up for Tuesday’s crucial clash with Croatia at Hampden Park, but having contracted Coronavirus, the 20-year-old will now miss out.

A statement read: “The Scottish FA can confirm that a member of the Scotland national team playing squad, Billy Gilmour, has tested positive for Covid-19,” the SFA said.

“Having liaised with Public Health England since the positive test was recorded, Billy will now self-isolate for 10 days and therefore miss tomorrow’s UEFA Euro 2020 Group D match against Croatia at Hampden.”

It has been revealed though that the rest of the Scotland camp, plus the England players who played against Gilmour on Friday night, have all tested negative and are available for selection.

Clarke must now decide who will replace the Chelsea ace in the starting XI, with Southampton’s Stuart Armstrong looking the most likely man to step in.

Scotland do have other options though, one of which would be to move Scott McTominay up from centre back to his more natural position. The Manchester United ace was a crucial member of the three centre-back system and Clarke might not want to tinker too much.

Other players pushing for that midfield role include Sheffield United’s John Fleck and Celtic youngster David Turnbull, who have five and one cap to their names respectively.

Warren Ashurst

Warren has been employed as a sport journalist for over two decades and as well as years of written experience, has also worked in other areas of the media including radio and television. Football has always been his number one passion and has covered both domestic and international level.