Benzema out of Socceroos clash and Cup

France's Karim Benzema training before incurring the injury that has put him out of the World Cup.

France's Karim Benzema training before incurring the injury that has put him out of the World Cup. Photo: AAP

The Socceroos will not face Karim Benzema in their World Cup opener against France after the Ballon d’Or winner was ruled out of the entire tournament with injury.

The Real Madrid striker had to quit the defending champions’ training session on Saturday night after suffering a thigh injury.

He was subsequently ruled out of the World Cup after an MRI scan revealed a tear that needs three weeks to heal.

He is likely to be replaced in the French team for the Group D match with Australia on Tuesday evening (Wednesday morning AEDT) by AC Milan striker Olivier Giroud.

The 36-year-old Giroud needs three goals to surpass Thierry Henry as France’s all-time leading scorer but has only scored once in 12 previous World Cup finals appearances.

Borussia Dortmund’s Marcus Thuram, called up this week to replace Christopher Nkunku, is another option.

Saturday was the first time Benzema, who has been struggling with a muscle problem, had trained with the squad since they arrived in Qatar.

The French Federation tweeted that after ‘hurting the quadriceps of the left thigh’ he is ‘forced to give up participating in the World Cup.’

Didier Deschamps, the French coach, said: “The whole team shares Karim’s sadness and wishes him a speedy recovery.

“I am extremely sad for Karim who made this World Cup a major goal. Despite this new setback, I have full confidence in my group. We will do everything to meet the immense challenge that awaits us.”

At 34 Benzema is unlikely to get the chance to play in another World Cup, leaving his career unfulfilled at this level.

Having been controversially omitted from the French squad for the 2010 World Cup, Benzema scored three times in the 2014 finals as France reached the last eight.

He was then left out of what proved the winning 2018 squad due to the sex-tape blackmail case that was finally settled this year when he accepted a one-year suspended prison sentence and €75,000 fine.

Recalled to the French team due to his form with Champions League winners Real Madrid his loss is another blow to an injury-hit squad.

Already without Paul Pogba and N’Golo Kante, Deschamps this week had to replace Presnel Kimpembe and Nkunku.

The coach is likely to summon another replacement for Benzema. Monaco striker Wissam Ben Yedder, who has three international goals, is an option

Central defender Raphael Varane, who is recovering from a knee problem, also trained with the squad for the first time on Saturday and is doubtful for the Socceroos game.


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