If the France team manages to retain its world title on December 18, it will not be unworthy. For several weeks, the Blues have been chaining the pitfalls. It makes you wonder if the curse of the reigning world champions – the last three were eliminated in the first round – has not taken a little head start this year. Saturday, November 19, while participating in his first collective session since the start of the Blues rally, Karim Benzema was forced to leave training prematurely.
The Real Madrid striker was playing an opposition in the starting team. According The Team, the Ballon d’Or 2022 could already be forfeited for the first match of the French, scheduled for Tuesday, November 22, at the Al-Janoub stadium, against Australia. A priori, this alert would not be a relapse but would concern another muscular discomfort.
For a month, the Lyonnais has been struggling with hamstring pain. With the approach of a crucial World Cup for him – he was sidelined during the last edition, in 2018 – he had tried to spare himself, alternating a few ends of the match and periods of rest. His last match played in full dates back to October 19.
Crucial medical examinations
The next few hours will be decisive. The 34-year-old star, who is known for taking care of his body and his physical condition, must pass medical examinations which will be crucial. These will determine whether he has a chance of being able to play this World Cup or not.
Coach Didier Deschamps will have a major choice to make: wait and hope that Benzema is on his feet later in the tournament or turn the page, record this umpteenth withdrawal and replace him in the list of 26 selected players. He has until Monday evening, on the eve of the entry into the running of the Blues, to decide.
If he was a young retiree at the time, Deschamps certainly had the misadventure of the 2002 World Cup in mind. That year, Zinedine Zidane, an iconic figure in French football, was injured during the last preparation match on southern soil -Korean. He had been kept in the group, rested for the first two games and his hasty return in the third, against Denmark, had not changed the tricolor fiasco. This refusal of reality had certainly been able to disturb the collective.
Karim Benzema’s package, if confirmed, would remove another experienced and leading player from the France team. Before the World Cup, Paul Pogba and N’Golo Kanté, two figures of the 2018 world champions, threw in the towel due to injuries. Defender Presnel Kimpembe gave up a few days before leaving for the Middle East, like second goalkeeper Mike Maignan. Striker Christopher Nkunku waited for the last training session at Clairefontaine (Yvelines) to twist his knee.
Thursday, it was another announced star of this World Cup who had formalized his absence. Senegalese Sadio Mané was injured in extremis with his club Bayern Münich. Operated a few days before the competition, he did not make the trip to Qatar. This avalanche of injuries raises the question of the intensification of the international football calendar, which subjects the players and their bodies to an increasingly hellish pace. Unfortunately, the Blues are well placed to know.
Leave a Comment