France hoping injured players will be back for Portugal game

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International Friendly - France v Ukraine
International Friendly - France v Ukraine

PARIS (Reuters) - France coach Didier Deschamps is hoping to count on the return of several injured players when the world champions travel to Portugal in the Nations League on Saturday.

Les Bleus were without Kylian Mbappe, Presnel Kimpembe, Kingsley Coman, Benjamin Pavard and Lucas Hernandez in a 2-0 friendly home defeat to Finland on Wednesday.

"It's going in the right direction," Deschamps was quoted as saying by French sports daily L'Equipe on Thursday after Finland ended their 12-match unbeaten streak.

Deschamps added, however, that he was "not sure of anything" concerning Mbappe and Pavard, who were out of the Finland game with a thigh problem and an ankle injury, respectively.

France, with 10 points from four games, trail Group 3 leaders Portugal on goal difference.

They will then face bottom side Sweden, who have lost all of their four games, at the Stade de France on Tuesday.

(Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by Robert Birsel)