France’s World Cup injury woes continue to worsen

France’s World Cup injury woes continue to worsen

Karim Benzema, a striker, will not compete in the event

Karim Benzema, a forward for the defending World Cup champions France, will be absent from the tournament due to a thigh injury, it has been confirmed.

The 34-year-old Benzema already had a question mark for France’s opening match against Australia on Tuesday. The Real Madrid striker withdrew from Saturday’s team practice at the Jassim bin Hammad Stadium, and France later announced that he would miss the entire tournament.

Karim had made winning this World Cup a top priority, French coach Didier Deschamps said in a statement.

“Despite this fresh setback for the French team, I have complete faith in my team. We will exert every effort to meet the enormous challenge that lies ahead.

The world’s best player award, the Ballon d’Or, was given to Benzema last month in recognition of his incredible 2021–2022, during which he scored 44 goals in 46 appearances across all competitions, propelling Real Madrid to the La Liga and Champions League titles. This season, the forward has struggled with muscle injuries that have limited his playing time.

The current Ballon d’Or winner won’t be at the World Cup for the first time since 1978 because of Benzema’s absence from Qatar.

A long-running sex tape scandal involving his former teammate Mathieu Valbuena led to Benzema’s expulsion from the Les Bleus squad after he represented France at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. He came back for the 2020 European Championships, only to see France unexpectedly lose to Switzerland in the round of 16.

After France already lost midfielders N’Golo Kante and Paul Pogba before the tournament, Karim Benzema is struggling with injuries in Qatar. The two played a key role in helping France win the World Cup in Russia four years ago. Then, striker Christopher Nkunku was declared out after suffering an injury in practice, disappointing manager Deschamps. The RB Leipzig striker later revealed that he had torn a knee ligament.

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