November 20, 2022

Big blow for France as Benzema misses World Cup with thigh injury

By Efosa Taiwo

Defending champion France have suffered a major blow ahead of the World Cup after its star striker Karim Benzema was ruled out of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar on Saturday.

Benzema teared a muscle in his left thigh during training on Saturday.

An MRI scan later confirmed a rectus femoris tendon injury, which means the 34-year-old faces a three-week recovery period.

Benzema confirmed his withdrawal in an Instagram post.

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“I’ve never given up in my life but tonight I have to think of the team, as I have always done,” he said. “So reason tells me to give my place to someone who can help our squad have a great World Cup. Thanks for all your messages of support.”

This will be the first time since 1978, the reigning Ballon d’Or winner will not feature in the World Cup with the injury also coming three days to France’s World Cup opener against Australia.

France head coach Didier Deschamps 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.”

The World Cup holders are already without Paul Pogba and N’Golo Kanté as they begin their title defence against Australia on Tuesday.

Deschamps has until Monday to call up a replacement for Benzema, with the Monaco striker Wissam Ben Yedder one option.