France have suffered a major blow in their quest to defend the World Cup trophy as star striker Karim Benzema has been ruled out of the tournament through injury. Head Coach Didier has mentioned that he won’t call in a replacement for the Real Madrid striker.
Benzema injured during training
Benzema was forced out of the national team’s training camp on Saturday after feeling pain in the quadriceps of his left thing. An MRI scan later confirmed that the 34-year-old suffered a tendon injury, recovery from which could take over three weeks. The Ballon D’or Winner has hardly played competitive football in the past few weeks and Saturday’s training session was his first for the Les Blues.
France are already without N’Golo Kante, Paul Pogba, Christopher Nkunku, Princel Kimpembe and Deschamps now faces a huge challenge to defend the crown from four years back.
The 54-year-old coach said, “I am extremely sad for Karim who made this World Cup a major goal. Despite this new blow for the French team, I have full confidence in my group. We will do everything to meet the huge challenge that awaits us.”
Benzema last played in a World Cup match in Brazil, 2014 where he was the top scorer for his country but missed Russia, 2018 as he was exiled from the national squad for his involvement in a sex tape extortion scandal.
On being asked why he wouldn’t replace Benzema, Deschamps responded, “Because I decided, simply”.
Replacement options if Deschamps changes his mind
Deschamps still has time till Monday if he decides to change his mind, with Manchester United’s Anthony Martial and Monaco’s Wissam Ben Yedder the most viable options. None of the two bring in qualities that Benzema possesses to turn any game on its head.
France, however, have been boosted by defender Raphael Varane’s recovery from injury. The 29-year-old center back came through Saturday’s training session unscathed as is expected to play a pivotal role in defense throughout the tournament.
The defending Champions have been placed alongside Denmark, Australia and Tunisia in Group D and have the firepower to top the group despite the injury setbacks.
Les Blues kickstart their campaign against Australia on Tuesday.
Photo credit: IMAGO / Icon Sportswire
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