Karim Benzema excluded from the entire World Cup is a blow to France | France

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Karim Benzema will miss the entire World Cup after picking up an injury while training with France in Qatar.

The French Football Federation said in a statement that the Real Madrid striker was forced to cut training short after feeling “quadriceps pain in his left thigh”. An MRI later confirmed a right femoral tendon injury meaning the 34-year-old faces a three-week recovery period.

Didier Deschamps, France 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 enormous challenge that awaits us.

The injured World Cup holders, already without Paul Pogba and N’Golo Kanté, will start their defense against Australia on Tuesday. Deschamps has until Monday to call a replacement for Benzema, with Monaco striker Wissam Ben Yedder an option.

Benzema had barely played in recent weeks and this was his first full training session with the Blues. Since winning the Ballon d’Or last month, he has played less than 30 minutes for Madrid.

He was France’s top scorer in the 2014 World Cup but did not feature in the 2018 World Cup-winning campaign as he was still exiled from the team for his involvement in an extortion scandal of sex tape that shocked French sport. He returned for the European Championship last year and finished top scorer in France.

Deschamps saw his team riddled with injuries. Striker Christopher Nkunku suffered the injury minutes before the end of the team’s final training session on Tuesday night and was replaced in the squad by Randal Kolo Muani.

The manager is also eagerly waiting to see if his best centre-back Raphael Varane is fit to face Australia, exactly one month since he limped off for Manchester United with a hamstring injury.

Fellow World Cup winner and centre-back Presnel Kimpembe withdrew on Monday after failing to prove his fitness with a hamstring injury.


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