Karim Benzema injury: France remains optimistic about World Cup 2022

DOHA, Qatar – France head coach Didier Deschamps has vowed that his team will strongly defend their World Cup title, despite the “sad” loss of star striker Karim Benzema to injury.

Benzema, the reigning Ballon d’Or winner after being voted the best player in the world for the 2021-22 season, was ruled out by France team doctors on Saturday afternoon after being unable to shake off a painful hamstring problem. left quadriceps

“I’m very sad for Karim, who made this World Cup an important goal,” Deschamps told reporters. “Despite this new blow, I have full confidence in my squad. We will do everything possible to face the immense challenge that awaits us.”

Benzema scored 44 goals in 46 games to help Real Madrid win both La Liga and the Champions League last season, admitting at the time that his career would have felt incomplete without the Ballon d’Or.

Missing the tournament in Qatar will be a crushing blow for the in-form striker, who, at 34, may not get another chance. Benzema was not selected for France’s triumph in 2018, partly because he was under investigation for a blackmail scandal at the time.

Deschamps’ current squad has already been rocked by injuries to stars Paul Pogba and N’Golo Kante, plus defender Presnel Kimpembe, ending all three’s World Cup hopes.

France felt they underperformed at last year’s Euros, losing to Switzerland in a last 16 match where Benzema scored twice but the defense inexplicably caved in the final minutes.

And despite the manager’s success over the past four years, Deschamps’ job has even been called into question, with his former World Cup teammate (since 1998) Zinedine Zidane publicly announcing the his willingness to assume the position.

It all means a number of hurdles for Deschamps to overcome if they are to repeat their clinical surge to the 2018 title. The team will play for the first time in Group D on Tuesday, where they will be heavy favorites against Australia (-345 according to FOX Bet odds).

A tougher test against Denmark follows, before closing group action against Tunisia on November 30.

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