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FIFA World Cup: Deschamps targets Ribery return for Jamaica clash

Paris: France coach Didier Deschamps said Wednesday that he had set star winger Franck Ribery, who is suffering from a back problem, a target of returning for Sunday's friendly against Jamaica.

Franck Ribery
Franck Ribery 

However, Deschamps denied this weekend's final pre-World Cup warm-up match in Lille would serve as a deadline for the Bayern Munich player.

"I'm going to repeat to you what I said last Sunday. The goal still remains to have him available for the match this Sunday. It's not a deadline, it's a target," Deschamps said Wednesday.

"He had a break with his family and has been working with a staff member who stayed with him to keep him on the training plan laid out for him."

Deschamps added that Ribery had again followed an individually-tailored programme on Wednesday.

Asked if Ribery were to miss the game against Jamaica whether that would also rule him out of the World Cup, Deschamps kept his cards close to his chest.

"I don't like that, you can ask me the question again at the required time. Everything remains a possibility and everything is open to interpretation as well," said the France coach.

"Today (Wednesday), I have no reason to say it would," he added.

Deschamps also refused to be drawn into a debate concerning whether FIFA would allow France to replace Ribery in the 23-man squad.

According to tournament rules a team has until 24 hours before its first World Cup match to replace an injured player, subject to approval from FIFA's medical department.

That would give the French until June 14 to make a decision over Ribery with Les Bleus scheduled to start their finals campaign against Honduras in Porto Alegre the following day.

"There's not a 100 percent chance of success (in replacing him) but I am not in that scenario right now," Deschamps replied.

Raphael Varane and Paul Pogba also trained apart from the squad Wednesday but Deschamps allayed fears over their fitness, noting that Real Madrid defender Varane would rejoin the group on Thursday.

Juventus midfielder Pogba took a knock to his hip area during Sunday's 1-1 draw with Paraguay but Deschamps insisted it was "nothing too nasty".

France will train behind closed doors on Thursday and Friday before heading to Lille, where they face Jamaica on Sunday, after which Les Bleus will fly to Brazil.

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