France's Nkunku injured, out of Qatar WC

Defending champions France have suffered a major blow ahead of the World Cup in Qatar with forward Christopher Nkunku ruled out of the tournament after suffering an injury in training.

The 1998 and 2018 winners begin their World Cup Group D campaign against the Socceroos at Al Janoub Stadium on Tuesday November 22 (Wednesday 6am AEDT), before tackling Denmark and Tunisia.

The RB Leipzig forward, who has been in outstanding form for his club in Germany, left Tuesday's training session in Clairefontaine early with a left knee injury.

Nkunku clashed with teammate Eduardo Camavinga and head coach Didier Deschamps among those who went to his aid.

"The X-ray examinations carried out in the evening unfortunately revealed that it was a sprain," the French federation (FFF) said in a statement.

Nkunku was replaced by Randal Kolo Muani on Wednesday.

Kolo Muani has made a decent start since joining Eintracht Frankfurt from French Cup winners Nantes in the offseason.

He has made two international appearances for France.

Earlier this week, Les Bleus ruled Paris Saint-Germain defender Presnel Kimpembe out because of a hamstring injury.

Nkunku has scored 17 goals and provided two assists in 23 games for Leipzig this season.

Among players from Europe's top five leagues - the Premier League, La Liga, Bundesliga, Ligue 1 and Serie A - only France teammate Kylian Mbappe has managed more combined goals and assists since the beginning of 2022 than Nkunku.

Karim Benzema and Raphael Varane, working their way back from injuries, played a limited part in Tuesday's final training session in France before they fly out to Doha on Wednesday.

With agencies.