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Liverpool’s Ibrahima Konate breaks FIFA World Cup record to give France new problem

Liverpool defender Ibrahima Konate broke a World Cup record during France’s disappointing 1-0 defeat against Tunisia on Wednesday and is now pushing for a start when they face Poland in the Round of 16.

 

Ibrahima Konate has given France boss Didier Deschamps a major World Cup selection headache after making the most tackles in a single game during the tournament so far.

 

With France’s spot in the knockout stages already confirmed, Konate was one of a number of players who were given the opportunity to impress by Deschamps on Wednesday. But while the majority of France’s fringe players were unable to make an impression in the shock 1-0 defeat against Tunisia, Konate did manage to stand out.

 

The highly-rated 23-year-old produced an outstanding performance after being drafted in and made more than 10 tackles throughout the match – a feat that nobody else has come close to matching out in Qatar.

 

Konate won plenty of plaudits for his impressive performance after the match, which was marred by controversy after a late goal from Antoine Griezmann was chalked off by VAR. And while Konate’s performance will enthuse Liverpool fans following his injury-hit campaign at Anfield, it has the scope to cause Deschamps some major selection issues going forward.

 

The Reds centre-half started France’s World Cup opener before losing his spot in the win over Denmark, but Konate should now be firmly in Deschamps’ plans ahead of Sunday’s Round of 16 showdown with Poland – and that could spell bad news for Bayern Munich defender Dayot Upamecano, who had started both of France’s previous matches.

 

Manchester United centre-half Raphael Varane’s spot in the team could also be under threat in the wake of Konate’s showing against Tunisia. Arsenal defender William Saliba – who was introduced from the bench – was also tipped to push for a starting role at the tournament after his stunning start to the Premier League season.

 

While Kounate and Saliba are pushing for starts, Deschamps could still decide to stick with the pairing of Upamecano and Varane for Sunday’s clash – a decision that would leave both Premier League stars disappointed.Liverpool defender Ibrahima Konate broke a FIFA World Cup record during France's match against Tunisia

Ibrahima Konate broke a FIFA World Cup record during France’s match against Tunisia

Despite his standout performance, Konate pulled no punches after the disappointing result. He refuted the suggestion, however, that France had paid the price for making too many changes for the final match of the group stage.

 

But he did make it clear that France would be out to make amends when they face Poland for a place in the World Cup quarter-finals at the weekend.

 

“I hate losing,” Konate revealed after Wednesday’s match. “There won’t be any favours this weekend, it’ll be a match and that’s it. I can’t say there were too many changes – if we’re here today, we can’t go with that excuse.

 

 

“We weren’t at the level required, we were too wasteful. We need to concentrate on the next game, come together and forget this little error. Whether that’s against Mexico, Argentina, or whoever, it’s going to be a difficult match.”

 

 

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