France defender Axel Disasi said he had put behind him the injury to Morocco international Amine Harit that forced the striker out of the World Cup, and added that abuse on social media did not bother him.
AS Monaco’s Disasi collided with Harit, who plays for Olympique Marseille, on Sunday during their Ligue 1 match, with the Moroccan suffering a ligament injury that ruled him out of the World Cup hours before he was due to board a plane to Qatar.
The uncapped Disasi, who got a last-minute call-up for the France team, said that while Harit’s injury was “tragic”, it would not affect him at the World Cup.
“What happened on Sunday is tragic and very sad,” Disasi told a news conference on Saturday. “I cannot imagine being in his place. He was about to leave in a couple of hours and then he injured himself.”
Disasi received a torrent of social media abuse from angry Morocco fans but said neither the injury nor the attacks would preoccupy him in Qatar.
“On the pitch, I try not to think about it. I don’t fill my head with all that,” he said.
“On social media, we see everything that was going on. Personally, it has not touched me and I had no time to think about it. I am concentrated and focused on being on the French team.”
The world champions kick off their title defense against Australia on Tuesday and then also play Denmark and Tunisia in their group D.
“We know Australia has big physical qualities and they are also a team that sticks together. We have to start this match really well and we know each team wants to play their best,” he said.
“There are no small or big teams, it is up to us to prepare well.”
Disasi made the squad after Paris St Germain center-back Presnel Kimpembe was ruled out with an injury. With fellow France defender Raphael Varane in Qatar but still nursing an injury, Disasi’s time to play at the World Cup could come sooner than expected.
“I remember when I received the phone call. I was so happy and very proud. This (World Cup) is something else, another level. I am trying to improve and want to do the best that I can.”
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