The World Cup threatens to become a nightmare for defending champion France. After Kante, Pogba, Maignan, Fofana, Nkunku and Kimpembe were injured, Les Bleus also have to miss Golden Ball Karim Benzema in Qatar. The 34-year-old striker of Real Madrid suffered a muscle tear during his first training session with the group on Saturday and has given up for the World Cup, the French Football Federation reported.
Benzema was between Mbappé, Griezmann and Giroud on Saturday during the group training of Les Bleus. For the first time, the attacker trained with the group in the run-up to the World Cup, but his comeback was very short-lived. Benzema has been battling muscle injuries all season. For example, he missed the last four league games at Real Madrid.
Those worries seemed to have gradually disappeared on Saturday evening, until he injured himself again. A muscle tear to the left quadriceps, the French Football Federation reported on Saturday just before midnight. An MRI scan revealed an “injury” that will keep him out for three weeks. “Benzema is forced to give up his participation in the World Cup. The whole team shares Karim’s grief and wishes him a speedy recovery.”
National coach Didier Deschamps can call up a replacement until Monday evening, the evening before France’s first match. “I am very sad for Karim, who made this World Cup an important goal,” Deschamps said. “Despite this new blow to the French team, I have full confidence in my group. We will do everything we can to meet the huge challenge that awaits us.”
Benzema received the Golden Ball last month, the prestigious award for the best player in the world. Benzema’s forfait is a serious setback for the French selection. Previously, defender Presnel Kimpembe (Achilles tendon), midfielders Paul Pogba (knee) and N’Golo Kanté (hamstring) and striker Christopher Nkunku (knee) had to drop out for the World Cup with injuries.
After the first match against Australia, France in Group D will face Denmark (November 26) and Tunisia (November 30) in Qatar.
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