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France hit by more World Cup injuries – RT Sport News

Reigning champions France will be without Karim Benzema for the Qatar World Cup after it was confirmed the striker will miss the tournament with a thigh injury.

Benzema, 34, was already a doubt for France’s opener against Australia on Tuesday. After the Real Madrid striker pulled out of the team’s training session at the Jassim bin Hammad stadium on Saturday, France confirmed in a statement that he will be out for the entire competition.

Benzema received the Ballon d’Or for the best player in the world last month, a reward for a remarkable 2021/22 season in which he scored 44 goals in 46 appearances in all competitions, sending Real Madrid to the titles of the La Liga and the Champions League. . The striker has been hampered by muscle injuries this season which have reduced his playing time.

Benzema played for France at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil but was later exiled from the Les Bleus squad amid a long-running sex tape scandal with former team-mate Mathieu Valbuena. He returned for the 2020 European Championships, only for France to suffer a shock in the round of 16 in Switzerland.

Qatar’s Benzema injury freedom comes after France already lost midfield duo N’Golo Kante and Paul Pogba ahead of the tournament. The duo were an integral part of the France team that won the World Cup in Russia four years ago. Coach Didier Deschamps then saw striker Christopher Nkunku sent off after picking up an injury in training. It later emerged that the RB Leipzig striker had torn a ligament in his knee.

Benzema is set to be replaced in the starting lineup by veteran Olivier Giroud, who is just three goals away from overtaking Thierry Henry as the national team’s all-time top scorer. Deschamps could call Manchester United’s Anthony Martial into the squad following Benzema’s exit.

Despite Benzema’s injury, Deschamps can still rely on a prodigiously talented squad which includes Paris Saint-German striker Kylian Mbappe, experienced defender Raphael Varane and promising young midfielder Eduardo Camavinga.

France begin their World Cup campaign against Australia on Tuesday, before facing Group D rivals Denmark and Tunisia.

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