Memphis Depay is expected to be out for the rest of the season due to a serious knee injury, says Lyon sporting director Juninho.

Depay was substituted at half-time during Sunday's Ligue 1 defeat at home to Rennes, having initially been hurt in a tussle with Hamari Traore.

The forward sustained a suspected anterior cruciate ligament injury to his left knee that could rule him out of action for several months.

Depay now faces a battle to return in time to feature for Netherlands at Euro 2020.

"We expect Memphis' injury to be quite serious," Juninho told OL TV.

"We expect it to keep him out for the rest of the season. He's our captain and I'm sad for him."

Depay's injury came after they had also lost Jeff Reine-Adelaide to a suspected meniscus problem, with reports suggesting he could be out for around four months.

The former Manchester United man has scored nine goals and assisted a further two in 13 Ligue 1 appearances this season, as well as netting five times in five Champions League games.

Rennes moved up to fourth in the Ligue 1 table thanks to a 1-0 win earned by a late goal scored by 17-year-old Eduardo Camavinga, with Lyon sitting eighth after 18 games.

Lyon coach Rudi Garcia said: "I'm not happy with the results or the performances. The evening is made worse by the fact that we lost Reine-Adelaide and Depay to injury."

France coach Didier Deschamps is not yet thinking about attempting to retain the World Cup after signing a new contract.

Deschamps agreed a new deal on Tuesday that takes the coach through to the end of Qatar 2022.

France will first attempt to follow their successful campaign at Russia 2018 by claiming European Championship glory for the first time since 2000 next year.

Les Bleus were runners-up at Euro 2016, with Deschamps hoping to go one step further than their defeat to Portugal on home soil.

"It is an honour for me to be the coach of France," Deschamps told a news conference. 

"You know the attachment I continue to have for what this jersey represents.

"Sincerely, I thank the [French Football Federation] president [Noel Le Graet] for his confidence. The quality of our relationship is very important to me.

"There are still many things to do. Many have already been done. We are world champions in title. We are judged by the results.

"I am happy in my job. I have the best French players, with a remarkable state of mind. There are still beautiful things to do.

"Qatar is very far away. The goal is the Euros… My energy and that of my staff are focused on it."

No team has retained the World Cup since the great Brazil side featuring Pele won the tournament in 1958 and 1962.

Didier Deschamps will lead France in their World Cup defence after committing to Les Bleus through to the end of their Qatar 2022 mission.

The new deal for the head coach, confirmed at a news conference in Paris, rewards the former midfielder for his ongoing success with the national team.

Deschamps was contracted until the end of Euro 2020 but has committed for a further two and a half years to take in another World Cup trophy quest.

The Qatar finals take place from November 21 until December 18, and if Deschamps sees out his contract he will complete a full decade in his post.

Appointed in July 2012, initially on a two-year deal, he oversaw France's Euro 2016 campaign on home soil, where they lost to Portugal in the final.

Les Bleus went one better at Russia 2018, a 4-2 victory over Croatia in the final seeing Deschamps match the feat of Franz Beckenbauer with West Germany and Mario Zagallo with Brazil in becoming a World Cup winner both as a player and as a manager.

He was captain of France's triumphant 1998 team and played most notably at club level for Marseille and Juventus, winning the Champions League with both.

Didier Deschamps will lead France in their World Cup defence after committing to Les Bleus through to the end of their Qatar 2022 mission.

The new deal for the head coach, confirmed at a news conference in Paris, rewards the former midfielder for his ongoing success with the national team.

Deschamps was contracted until the end of Euro 2020 but has committed for a further two and a half years to take in another World Cup trophy quest.

The Qatar finals take place from November 21 until December 18, and if Deschamps sees out his contract he will complete a full decade in his post.

Appointed in July 2012, initially on a two-year deal, he oversaw France's Euro 2016 campaign on home soil, where they lost to Portugal in the final.

Les Bleus went one better at Russia 2018, a 4-2 victory over Croatia in the final seeing Deschamps match the feat of Franz Beckenbauer with West Germany and Mario Zagallo with Brazil in becoming a World Cup winner both as a player and as a manager.

He was captain of France's triumphant 1998 team and played most notably at club level for Marseille and Juventus, winning the Champions League with both.

Vladimir Putin believes Russia has grounds to appeal the four-year ban handed to them by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), a suspension he suggested had "political considerations."

WADA announced on Monday that Russia would be banned from competing at international sporting events for four years, with the country unable to field teams under their flag at the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo or the 2022 World Cup.

Individual Russian athletes will still be able to enter global competitions under a neutral flag, as was the case for 168 Russians at the 2018 Winter Olympics when the country was banned.

WADA's International Standard for Code Compliance by Signatories does not list UEFA as a "major event organisation", so Russia will also be free to compete at Euro 2020, for which they are one of the host nations.

Russia have been given 21 days to respond to the sanctions proposed by WADA, which relate to tampering with data obtained from a laboratory in Moscow this year, and president Putin suggested his country will be lodging an appeal, while also stating his belief that the ban is a political punishment, rather than a sporting one.

"First of all, we need to analyse this decision. Here is the obvious part, which I can see immediately. For example, there are no complaints to the National Olympic Committee. If there are no complaints, the country must be able to take part in competitions under the national flag, according to the Olympic Charter," Putin told a joint news conference following a Normandy format summit, in quotes reported on the Kremlin's official website.

"This means that this part of the WADA decision contradicts the Olympic Charter. Therefore, we have good reason to appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

"There are also some other arguments, but first our experts and lawyers should analyse everything so that we can talk with our partners competently. However, I believe that the main thing, and everyone seems to accept it, is that punishment must be individual and based on the acts committed by an individual.

"Punishment must not be collective, that is, applied to the persons who have no connection with a given crime. Everyone is aware of this. I believe that the WADA experts are aware of this as well.

"But if they take decisions on collective punishment, I think this is a reason to believe that these decisions do not seek to keep sports clean but are based on political considerations, which has nothing to do with the interests of sport and the Olympic Movement."

FIFA has made contact with the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) to clarify how Russia's ban from major international sporting events applies to football.

On Monday, WADA's Executive Committee endorsed a recommended four-year ban for Russia, with the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) declared non-compliant again over inconsistencies in anti-doping data discovered during an investigation.

The suspension means athletes will not be able to compete under the Russian flag at the 2020 Olympics or the 2022 Winter Games.

It would also appear to prevent Russia from entering the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, although WADA's International Standard for Code Compliance by Signatories does not list UEFA as a "major event organisation", so Stanislav Cherchesov's side will be free to compete at Euro 2020.

However, the Russian Football Union said it was hopeful football would not be impacted but it was waiting to hear from FIFA.

FIFA is yet to reveal its stance on the suspension but has confirmed to Omnisport it is in contact with WADA and the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations (ASOIF).

"FIFA has taken note of the decision taken by WADA Executive Committee today," a FIFA spokesperson said.

"FIFA is in contact with WADA and ASOIF to clarify the extent of the decision in regards to football."

RUSADA has 21 days to appeal the suspension, which would see its case referred to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Jonathan Taylor, chair of the Compliance Review Committee that recommended the sanction, told a news conference: "It is the event that decides the world champion that is covered by the ban."

However, Taylor acknowledged each sport would be assessed on a "case-by-case basis".

"Let's be clear about the totality of this package. It's a four-year package and relates to a number of different things," he said. "In terms of participation, the standard is clear.

"There will be no flag at the events that are covered. There will not be a Russian flag and athletes will not be competing as representatives of Russia.

"The details from sport to sport will have to differ because some are team sports, some are individual sports. There is going to have to be a case-by-case basis.

"Nevertheless, what is important to note is that the standard says it is under the control and approval of WADA to ensure appropriate and standardised enforcement.

"That may, if there is a CAS case, be taken to CAS so it can see and endorse it itself.

"Can we be definitive now in every case as to what it will mean? No, but the standard is clear. They will not be there as representatives of Russia."

WADA president Craig Reedie said in a statement the body had delivered "a robust response".

"Russia was afforded every opportunity to get its house in order and re-join the global anti-doping community for the good of its athletes and of the integrity of sport, but it chose instead to continue in its stance of deception and denial," he said.

Other concerned parties, including the International Olympic Committee (IOC), can also appeal to CAS if RUSADA chooses not to.

An appeal from the IOC, another Olympic committee or an international federation - such as FIFA - would have to come within 21 days of RUSADA accepting WADA's decision.

The Russian Football Union (RFU) is hopeful Russia's four-year ban from international sporting events will not impact their potential participation in the 2022 World Cup.

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) declared the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) non-compliant again at a meeting in Lausanne, Switzerland, on Monday.

A WADA panel had recommended the ban over inconsistencies in anti-doping data discovered during an investigation.

Athletes will not be able to compete under the Russian flag at the 2020 Olympics or the 2022 Winter Games, while Russia's place at the World Cup in Qatar is also in jeopardy.

FIFA is yet to reveal its stance on the suspension, but the RFU is optimistic Russia will be present in Qatar if they are successful in their qualification campaign, while it is keen for hosting opportunities in football also to be unaffected.

The International Standard for Code Compliance by Signatories does not list UEFA as a "major event organisation", so Russia will also be free to compete at Euro 2020, with St Petersburg acting as one of the host cities.

"The RFU has not yet received an official FIFA position by decision of WADA," a widely reported statement read.

"We closely monitor compliance with the anti-doping policy and hope that there will not be any restrictions on the part of FIFA for our teams, as well as the organisation of events or competitions in Russia."

RFU honorary president Vyacheslav Koloskov – formerly a vice-president of FIFA – is "firmly convinced" there will be no issues for the national football team.

"Will we go to the World Cup under our flag? I still have to go there, but I can't say anything about the team," Koloskov told Championat. "There is no FIFA reaction yet.

"We must carefully discuss this topic, but I am firmly convinced that these prohibitions will not affect football. And at the European Championship, we will definitely compete under our flag."

UK Anti-Doping (UKAD) has welcomed WADA's decision and adds it hopes any appeal process is swift with the Olympic Games in Tokyo just seven-and-a-half months away.

"We welcome today's decision to declare RUSADA non-compliant, and the decisive action by WADA's Executive Committee (ExCo) to impose four-year sanctions on Russian athletes and support personnel," UKAD chief executive Nicole Sapstead said. 

"This was the only possible outcome that the WADA ExCo could take to reassure athletes and the public and continue the task of seeking justice for those cheated by Russian athletes.

"We know however that this is not necessarily the end of the matter. If RUSADA chooses to appeal this decision to CAS [the Court of Arbitration for Sport], this must be carried out with minimal delay, especially in light of the upcoming Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo. 

"We welcome the clear and detailed communication from WADA today [Monday] which is vital in helping to maintain confidence in the global anti-doping system."

RUSADA has 21 days to appeal the suspension, which would see its case referred to CAS.

Other concerned parties, including the International Olympic Committee (IOC), can also appeal if RUSADA chooses not to.

An appeal from the IOC, another Olympic committee or an international federation would have to come within 21 days of RUSADA accepting WADA's decision.

England will face Italy in the first of four warm-up matches for Euro 2020, with Gareth Southgate's side set to host the Azzurri on March 27.

The Three Lions secured qualification for next year's finals in style with a 7-0 thrashing of Montenegro in November, before rounding off their campaign by defeating Kosovo 4-0.

Southgate's side will face Croatia, victors in the 2018 World Cup semi-final meeting between the teams, and the Czech Republic - who inflicted England's only defeat of the qualification campaign - in Group D, with Scotland, Israel, Norway or Serbia set to complete the pool.

Four-time world champions Italy have won 11 straight games under Roberto Mancini, their longest run of consecutive victories, and will play Turkey, Switzerland and Wales in Group A, with all of the Azzurri's group matches to be played in Rome.

England have also lined up friendlies against Denmark on March 31, Austria on June 2 and Romania five days later, with their Euros campaign set to kick-off at Wembley on June 14.

Netherlands head coach Ronald Koeman dismissed speculation linking him to LaLiga champions Barcelona.

Koeman has emerged as a possible option for Barca should Ernesto Valverde leave, with the Dutchman's Netherlands contract containing a clause that would allow him to depart for Camp Nou following Euro 2020.

The 56-year-old spent six years at Barca as a player before later having a spell as Louis van Gaal's assistant from 1998 to 2000.

Koeman, however, is focused on his job with the Netherlands ahead of next year's European Championship.

"I have two more years left on my contract with the [Dutch] national team and I do not like to talk about Barcelona," Koeman said at an event in Barcelona.

"It's uncomfortable for a lot of reasons; I currently have a job and it's not fair to talk about this.

"If they come, they come; and if they don't, they don't. There are more important things [to worry about] in life."

The Netherlands are in Group C for Euro 2020, alongside Ukraine, Austria and a play-off winner.

Koeman's side will open their campaign at home to Ukraine in Amsterdam on June 14.

Leon Goretzka praised Hansi Flick following reports Bayern Munich are looking to unite him with Thomas Tuchel in a new coaching team.

German publication Bild suggested interim boss Flick could be kept on as an assistant at Allianz Arena if the Bundesliga side succeed in prising Tuchel from Paris Saint-Germain.

Flick took charge in a caretaker capacity following Niko Kovac's departure in November and has overseen four wins and a defeat in all competitions.

Chief executive Karl-Heinz Rummenigge reaffirmed his support for the 54-year-old following the weekend loss to Bayer Leverkusen, a result midfielder Goretzka insisted was not Flick's fault.

"He told us what we did well and what we did badly," the Germany international told news portal T-Online.

"We knew how we wanted to defend the counter-attack, but in the moment we did not do it well. But that will be different in the next games."

Goretzka added: "He's doing a very good job.

"The coach question is not for me to decide, that's what others do. But he definitely recommended himself [through Bayern's results] in the last few weeks."

Goretzka made his second Bundesliga start of the season in the Leverkusen encounter and will hope for further opportunities to press his case for Euro 2020 selection with Germany.

Joachim Low's men have been dealt a tough draw for the tournament, with holders Portugal and World Cup winners France joining them in Group F.

"What is difficult for me to understand is how such a group can come about," Goretzka said.

"I don't think we will go in as favourites, as we would normally expect at a European Championship.

"Nevertheless, we always have the claim to progress. I do not see any problem either. They are big challenges.

"We will try to spark euphoria in the country with the fans behind us and then continue on our way."

UEFA will ask football's lawmakers to introduce a margin error for offside calls in a bid to clean up the VAR "mess", Aleksander Ceferin has confirmed.

Players, coaches and supporters have criticised the implementation of technology since its infiltration of the Premier League for the 2019-20 season.

Disallowed goals for extremely marginal offside decisions have proved particularly contentious, with controversial incidents arising on a regular basis.

UEFA president Ceferin said he understood the frustration of fans and would take up the issue with the International Football Association Board (IFAB), the body responsible for the Laws of the Game.

"If you have a long nose, you are in an offside position these days," Ceferin told the Mirror.

"Also, the lines are drawn by the VARs. So it's subjective drawing of objective criteria.

"So our proposal will be that it is a tolerance of 10-20 centimetres.

"Second thing, we had at UEFA the top coaches two weeks ago, in Nyon. There was Jurgen Klopp, Pep Guardiola, Max Allegri, Carlo Ancelotti, Zinedine Zidane.

"All the top coaches of European teams and our referee officer, Roberto Rossetti, shows a handball. He says: 'Handball or not?'

"Half the room said yes. Half said no. So tell me how clear the rule is. We don't know anything!"

Ceferin admitted he was "not a big fan" of VAR but confirmed it would be in operation at Euro 2020.

"Look, we simply have to, because the teams will all complain when there’s a mistake against them," he said.

Roberto Mancini has warned Italy not to underestimate the less glamorous teams joining them in Group A at Euro 2020.

The Azzurri will face Turkey, Switzerland and Wales next June after receiving a relatively kind draw.

Mancini's men will be expected to reach the knockout rounds after maintaining a perfect record through qualifying, the only nation alongside Belgium to accomplish this feat.

But in 2016 semi-finalists Wales, a talented Turkey team and a Switzerland side boasting the best FIFA ranking of the four, Mancini found hidden demons.

"I don't think the group will be as simple as some are saying," the former Inter head coach told Radio Anch'io.

"They are annoying teams with nothing to lose. They all have good players and a lot of young players.

"Switzerland know us well and are always annoying to face, Wales can be a surprise with players in the Premier League and Turkey took four points from France in their qualifying group.

"These are teams that are difficult to deal with, but we are optimistic."

Euro 2020 will mark Italy's first appearance at a major tournament in four years, following the shock failure to reach the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

Mancini confirmed the squad he intends to take is already largely settled.

He said: "I believe the group is now outlined, but obviously if an extraordinary young man, a Paolo Rossi or [Salvatore] Schillaci, were to emerge in the next six months, we would be very pleased."

Niklas Sule is determined to prove Uli Hoeness wrong as the injured defender aims to recover full fitness in time for Euro 2020.

The Bayern Munich centre-back tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee during a Bundesliga game in October.

The serious injury was expected to end Sule's season and former Bayern president Hoeness told him to forget about representing Germany at the Euros.

But the 24-year-old said his rehabilitation is going well and could lead to an early comeback.

"The knee's fine, I'm ahead in the healing process. That speaks to the good work of the surgeon," Sule told reporters at a Bayern fan event.

"For me, the European Championship is clearly the goal and I assume that I can and will do it.

"I work for it every day. I hope to return to the team in March or April and then it's absolutely within feasible range. It's a tough journey but I know I can do it."

Asked about the likelihood of achieving his target, Sule added: "For my part, 100 percent."

Sule made his international debut in 2016 and has gone on to win 24 caps for Germany.

Joachim Low's men will face holders Portugal and World Cup winners France in a tough Group F at next year's tournament.

Fernando Santos has claimed defending champions Portugal are outsiders in a Euro 2020 group containing "two favourites" in France and Germany.

The three heavyweights were drawn together in a tough-looking Group F for next year's tournament, with a play-off contestant still to be added.

France and Germany will enter as winners of the past two World Cups, while Portugal are preparing to defend the trophy they unexpectedly won in 2016.

Santos' side were also crowned inaugural Nations League champions in June but the wily 65-year-old coach quickly positioned his team as underdogs.

"It will be a strong group, two favourites and a candidate," Santos told reporters.

"[France and Germany] have a responsibility to win and they have to assume that responsibility. We will believe in our possibilities. We come as candidates and obviously we want to win.

"Two world champions, a European champion and winner of the Nations League – I think this is a group that nobody wanted because each team wanted to avoid the other two.

"Everyone will respect each other and just wait to see who will be the fourth."

Portugal finished second behind Ukraine in their qualifying group, losing once and drawing twice in eight games.

Real Madrid shot-stopper Thibaut Courtois is the best goalkeeper in the world, according to Belgium coach Roberto Martinez.

Courtois was dropped to the bench for Real Madrid's 2-1 win over Deportivo Alaves in LaLiga on Saturday amid criticism of his performances.

However, his international boss Martinez labelled the 27-year-old the world's best despite admitting the goalkeeper was going through a "difficult period".

"Thibaut is for me the best goalkeeper in the world, as he showed at the [2018] World Cup," Martinez said on Saturday.

"From there, he is the best person for me to defend Real Madrid's goal.

"It has been a difficult period, but I think that the opportunity to return with the national team has helped him to regain the good feelings, in the same way that we hope that the successes he has at Real Madrid can help us in the Euros."

Belgium were drawn alongside Denmark, Finland and Russia in Group B for Euro 2020.

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