France 2022 World Cup blow as Karim Benzema emerges from training with striker racing to recover from TWO injuries


FRANCE could be without Karim Benzema for their World Cup opener against Australia after he limped off in Saturday’s training session.

The reigning world champions begin their title defense in Qatar on Tuesday.


Benzema failed to complete the France national team’s training session on SaturdayCredit: Reuters
The Real Madrid star suffers from two separate injury issues


The Real Madrid star suffers from two separate injury issuesCredit: Reuters

But they received some bad news just days after launching their campaign.

According to L’Equipe via Receive French football newsthe Ballon d’Or winner still suffers from both a hamstring problem AND knee sprains.

These reports gained credibility hours later when Benzema stopped and quickly ended his workout before the rest of the France crew.

His fitness issues now make him a doubt for their opening game against Australia.

And he’s the latest in a long line of injury problems for Didier Deschamps after Paul Pogba, N’Golo KantePresnel Kimpembe and Mike Maignan were all excluded from the selection.

Raphael Varane and Jules Kounde have been included in the squad but doubts remain as they recover from their respective injuries.

Benzema only played 26 minutes of football during real Madrid in November, leading to concerns from both club and country.

If he is not available for the game against Australia, coach Deschamps will turn to the AC Milan striker. Olivier Giroud.

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Giroud, 36, is just two goals away from Thierry Henry’s France team record of 51 – a tally by the ex-Arsenal and chelsea the man will have his sights set on Qatar.

He led the line for France at the 2018 World Cup and played a major role in lifting the trophy for the second time.

Benzema then returned to the national team for the Euros last year after a six-year absence from the France team.

His hiatus from international football came following a blackmail case involving former teammate Mathieu Valbuena and a sex tape.

He replaced Giroud for the Euro, but France were eliminated in the round of 16 by Switzerland.

Benzema scored 44 goals in 46 games for Real Madrid last season, inspiring Carlo Ancelotti’s side to a LaLiga-Champions League double.

And this incredible campaign was crowned by claiming him the Ballon d’Or in October ahead of Sadio Mane and Kevin de Bruyne.

After France’s opener against Australia, they will also face Denmark and Tunisia in Group D.

Deschamps’ men are looking to end a run of three successive World Cup holders emerging in the group stages of the next tournament – Italy (2010), Spain (2014), Germany (2018).

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Richard V. Johnson