Coach Deschamps "extremely sad" to lose Karim Benzema
DOHA, Qatar (November 19) —— France head coach Didier Deschamps said he's "extremely sad" for Karim Benzema after the Real Madrid striker was ruled out of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 with an injury on Saturday (19).
Benzema had made this year's tournament a high priority as France seek to defend the world title the team won in Russia in 2018, but he will now have to watch the global event from the sidelines after suffering a thigh injury in training one day before the tournament kicks off.
France will open the defense of their title on Tuesday against Australia and feature in Group D alongside Denmark and Tunisia. Read More: France injured striker Karim Benzema OUT of FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022
"I am extremely sad for Karim who made this World Cup a major goal," Deschamps said.
"Despite this new setback, I have full confidence in my group. We will do everything to meet the immense challenge that awaits us."
Benzema, who had been nursing a thigh injury since October, was taking part in the first full training session since the World Cup squad came together last week. The 34-year-old was hoping that he could recover in time to play some part in the latter part of the tournament, but the French Football Federation said an MRI scan confirmed the thigh muscle injury "will require a three-week recovery period."
Who Will Replace Karim Benzema In France Team?
Meanwhile, Deschamps has until Monday to draft in his replacement for Benzema, in addition to finalizing his squad for the World Cup.
The defending champions are already without central midfielders Paul Pogba and N'Golo Kante who sustained injuries prior to the squad being named, while on Wednesday, RB Leipzig forward Christopher Nkunku suffered a training injury was ruled out of the tournament. He was replaced in the set up by Eintracht Frankfurt's Randal Kolo Muani.
Replacing Benzema, who has scored 37 times in 97 matches for France won't be easy for Deschamps, but it is understood that Manchester United forward Manchester United forward Anthony Martial, who himself is only returning from injury, is one of the potential options to step in for the 2022 Ballon d'Or winner.
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