Featured Matches
Previous
Real Salt Lake
Montreal Impact
2:00 AM GMT
Game Details
AC Milan
Olympiakos
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Vélez Sarsfield
Estudiantes de Caseros
10:15 PM GMT
Game Details
FC Groningen
Aberdeen
5:30 PM GMT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 0 - 0
Game Details
Sligo
Rosenborg
6:00 PM GMT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 2 - 1
Game Details
Stjarnan
Motherwell
7:15 PM GMT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 2 - 2
Game Details
Shakhter Karagandy
FK Atlantas
3
0
FT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 3 - 0
Game Details
Shakhter Karagandy
FK Atlantas
3
0
FT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 3 - 0
Game Details
Hapoel Be'er Sheva
RNK Split
0
0
FT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 1 - 2
Game Details
MyPa
Dinamo Minsk
3:30 PM GMT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 0 - 3
Game Details
Omonia Nicosia
FK Buducnost Podgorica
4:00 PM GMT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 0 - 0
Game Details
Haugesund
FK Sarajevo
4:00 PM GMT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 1 - 0
Game Details
Kuban Krasnodar
Sillamae Kalev
4:00 PM GMT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 4 - 0
Game Details
Inter Baku
Elfsborg
4:00 PM GMT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 1 - 0
Game Details
IFK Goteborg
Györi ETO FC
5:00 PM GMT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 3 - 0
Game Details
Lech Poznan
Kalju
5:00 PM GMT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 0 - 0
Game Details
Liberec
MFK Kosice
5:00 PM GMT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 1 - 0
Game Details
Tromso
Víkingur Gøta
5:00 PM GMT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 0 - 0
Game Details
KS Flamurtari Vlorë
Petrolul Ploiesti
5:00 PM GMT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 0 - 2
Game Details
SV Grödig Amateure
Cukaricki Belgrade
5:00 PM GMT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 4 - 0
Game Details
Chikhura Sachkhere
Bursaspor
5:00 PM GMT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 0 - 0
Game Details
AIK Solna
Linfield
5:00 PM GMT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 0 - 1
Game Details
Zimbru Chisinau
CSKA Sofia
5:00 PM GMT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 0 - 0
Game Details
Shakhter Soligorsk
Derry City
5:00 PM GMT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 1 - 0
Game Details
FC Vaduz
Ruch Chorzow
5:00 PM GMT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 2 - 3
Game Details
Hapoel Tel Aviv
Astana 1964
5:00 PM GMT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 0 - 3
Game Details
Esbjerg FB
Kairat Almaty
5:00 PM GMT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 1 - 1
Game Details
FC Spartak Trnava
FC Zestafoni
5:30 PM GMT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 0 - 0
Game Details
FC Groningen
Aberdeen
5:30 PM GMT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 0 - 0
Game Details
FC Zorya Luhansk
Laci
5:30 PM GMT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 3 - 0
Game Details
Sligo
Rosenborg
6:00 PM GMT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 2 - 1
Game Details
Zawisa Bydgoszcz
S.V. Zulte Waregem
6:00 PM GMT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 0 - 0
Game Details
Vojvodina
AS Trencin
6:00 PM GMT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 0 - 4
Game Details
Asteras Tripolis
RoPS
6:00 PM GMT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 1 - 1
Game Details
Hajduk Split
Dundalk
6:15 PM GMT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 2 - 0
Game Details
ND Gorica
Molde
6:30 PM GMT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 1 - 4
Game Details
Jagodina
CFR Cluj-Napoca
6:30 PM GMT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 0 - 0
Game Details
NK Koper
Neftchi Baku PFC
6:30 PM GMT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 2 - 1
Game Details
Ferencvaros
Rijeka
6:30 PM GMT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 0 - 1
Game Details
Siroki Brijeg
Mlada Boleslav
6:30 PM GMT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 1 - 2
Game Details
Diosgyor VTK
PFC Litex Lovech
6:30 PM GMT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 0 - 0
Game Details
Crusaders
Brommapojkarna
6:45 PM GMT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 4 - 0
Game Details
St Johnstone
FC Luzern
6:45 PM GMT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 0 - 0
Game Details
St. Pölten
Botev Plovdiv
7:05 PM GMT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 1 - 2
Game Details
FH Hafnarfjordur
Neman Grodno
7:15 PM GMT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 0 - 0
Game Details
Stjarnan
Motherwell
7:15 PM GMT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 2 - 2
Game Details
Real Salt Lake
Montreal Impact
2:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Vélez Sarsfield
Estudiantes de Caseros
10:15 PM GMT
Game Details
Sport
Paysandu SC
10:30 PM GMT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 1 - 2
Game Details
AC Milan
Olympiakos
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Next

Honigstein: Low's men coming of age

Germany Jul 5, 2014
Read

Quarterfinals Day 1: Favorites win through

Five Aside Jul 4, 2014
Read

Benzema exits Brazil with a whimper

France Jul 4, 2014
Read

Delaney: France run out of steam

France Jul 4, 2014
Read
 Posted by Jonathan Johnson
Jun 6, 2014

France ponder World Cup without Ribery

ESPN FC's Julien Laurens believes that Ribery's influence on and off the pitch will be greatly missed by France.

PARIS -- France's worst fears were confirmed on Friday afternoon as Franck Ribery was forced to relinquish his place in Didier Deschamps' 23-man FIFA World Cup squad after failing to overcome a back problem. Following weeks of scrutiny over the Bayern Munich man's fitness since he arrived at Clairefontaine, the 31-year-old had to admit defeat in his battle to be fit for Brazil, and was joined by Olympique Lyonnais midfielder Clement Grenier.

- Report: Ribery ruled out of World Cup

- Report: Injured Grenier out of World Cup

Speculation had been rife once it emerged that Deschamps had recalled Montpellier HSC's Remy Cabella and Southampton's Morgan Schneiderlin, and it did not take long for the details to emerge.

In a bid to prove his fitness, Ribery had attempted to run during the morning and -- after initially being encouraged by his condition -- the staff pushed him to train more intensely. That is when the 81-times-capped player's back injury worsened, and it quickly became clear that there was no way he would be ready in time for next week.

"Franck had been feeling better," Deschamps revealed at a news conference. "The increase in intensity worsened the situation. This is a sad day, but we need to recover and prepare for the final friendly."

"The longer it went, the more we could see that it wasn't getting any better for him [Ribery]," teammate Yohan Cabaye elaborated. "We are a young squad and Ribery was our major player. But we have to deal with it, as we have no choice. The group still has quality."

Attention now turns to how France can replace their talismanic No. 7 in Brazil. Despite the obvious blow of losing a key player, though, the reaction inside the country has been surprisingly calm.

Early polls conducted by newspaper L'Equipe reveal that more than 50 percent of readers believe that Ribery's absence will not lessen the team's chances in South America. The same publication also reflected on "the black year" that the Bayern man has had to endure so far, after experiencing a drop in form since the start of 2014. This has been attributed to his failure to land the 2013 FIFA Ballon d'Or in some quarters.

However, another reason for France's muted reaction to the news of Ribery's forfeit is the rapid emergence of Real Sociedad's Antoine Griezmann as a potential key player for Deschamps' men.

The 23-year-old only made his senior debut for the French in March, but has impressed in the opening two warm-up matches ahead of the World Cup -- against Norway and Paraguay -- with many suggesting that the supremely gifted youngster will be more effective in South America than a half-fit Ribery would have been. Although Griezmann only has three appearances to his name at present, he has had a reinvigorating effect on the side and is a perfect replacement -- in terms of his position -- for Ribery in Deschamps' 4-3-3 formation.

The former Marseille man also burst onto the scene as a vibrant 23-year-old -- coincidentally with three senior caps to his name as well -- at the 2006 World Cup in Germany. Ribery was one of Les Bleus' standout performers, and the retiring Zinedine Zidane labelled him "the jewel of French football." French fans are now hoping that Griezmann can have a similar impact this summer. Another cause for optimism is the return of Cabella to the France fold.

Despite club side Montpellier enduring a rather disappointing season overall, the 24-year-old creative talent enjoyed his most productive campaign to date -- scoring 14 times and providing five assists in 37 appearances -- outgrowing his surroundings with the 2011-12 Ligue 1 champions. His invention as well as the creative talents of Olympique de Marseille's Mathieu Valbuena means that Deschamps is not completely starved of creativity in Brazil.

However, the major concern that comes with Ribery's absence is that it takes away from the squad's already scarce collective experience.

With 10 World Cup appearances to his name, the 31-year-old has played one more match at this level than the rest of the entire squad combined. Also, at 81 caps he was by far the most experienced member of the group, and that burden now falls to Karim Benzema, who is still looking for a first goal at a major international tournament.

There is also the question of Ribery's international future, as he revealed recently that Brazil would be his last World Cup.

France are not short of talent, but -- despite his history of underperforming with Les Bleus -- Ribery is still one of the country's most gifted current players. Deschamps was counting on him to show talismanic qualities to inspire this relatively young group, and now the 45-year-old is deprived of his services, even as a possible super-sub, as former international Marcel Desailly suggested recently.

The stage is now set for Griezmann to now explode onto the international scene. Will he seize the chance if Deschamps decides he is ready?

Comments

Use a Facebook account to add a comment, subject to Facebook's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your Facebook name, photo & other personal information you make public on Facebook will appear with your comment, and may be used on ESPN's media platforms. Learn more.