France striker Karim Benzema has been ruled out of the World Cup after suffering an injury to his left thigh during training on Saturday in Doha, sources told ESPN.
The 2022 Ballon d’Or winner felt a strong pain in his quads during a sprint toward the end of the training session.
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Benzema underwent scans to find out the extent of the injury, after which it was determined that he won’t recover in time to take part in the tournament that runs through the final on Dec. 18.
France begin the defense of the World Cup title they won in 2018 when taking on Australia on Tuesday. Per FIFA rules, they will have until 24 hours before their first game to name a replacement to their squad.
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Benzema, 34, has had battled injuries throughout the first part of the season with Real Madrid.
He had played only 26 minutes of football in the past month because of muscular fatigue and Saturday was the first time he was training with the France squad since they got together on Monday.
France coach Didier Deschamps was optimistic that his striker could recover in time but Saturday’s injury has now ruled him out of the tournament.