France boss Didier Deschamps makes surprise decision over Karim Benzema replacement


    France boss Didier Deschamps makes shock decision over Karim Benzema replacement
    The French coach had until Monday evening to call up a replacement (Pictures: Telefoot / Getty)

    France boss Didier Deschamps has raised a few eyebrows after confirming that he will not be calling up a replacement following Karim Benzema’s injury on the eve of the World Cup.

    The Ballon d’Or winner had been a doubt going into the tournament after missing a number of matches for Real Madrid with various different niggles, but picked up a fresh problem in training on Saturday.

    Benzema suffered a thigh strain – which Deschamps has now revealed happened when he struck a ball, not from jogging as was reported by French media – and would have spent at least three weeks on the sidelines.

    The defending World Cup champions are blessed with an abundance of attacking talent, however, and Manchester United’s Anthony Martial was one of three players linked with a late call up.

    Deschamps had until Monday evening to decide on a replacement – with Monaco’s Wissam Ben Yedder and Bayer Leverkusen’s Moussa Diaby the other two options – but he has now made the surprising decision not to call up a replacement.

    Despite the earlier injury blow to Christopher Nkunku, the 54-year-old coach claims his side already have enough attackers and he will make do with the options at his disposal.

    France boss Didier Deschamps makes surprise decision over Karim Benzema replacement
    Benzema left Qatar on Sunday and flew back to Madrid (Picture: Getty)

    ‘It’s obviously a big blow to lose Karim. He had done everything [to be available], so had we. He was in a session and felt pain in his other leg after an innocuous action,’ explained Deschamps to Telefoot on Sunday.

    ‘The scans confirmed that unfortunately it is too big a strain compared to the schedule that awaits us. Will he be replaced? No.’

    Asked why, he responded bluntly: ‘Because I decided, simple.’

    Despite only having seven attackers in his 25-man squad, Deschamps also claimed to have eight attacking options at his disposal with suggestions that Adrien Rabiot could be used in a more advanced role now.

    ‘We had already lost Christopher but we have an objective, a goal, and the group knows very well what awaits us,’ continued Deschamps.

    ‘We have a quality group, we are together. I am convinced of it and I have confidence in the group.’

    In training, France have been lining up with a three-man midfield of Aurelien Tchouameni and Rabiot sitting with Antoine Griezmann in an attacking midfield role, with Kylian Mbappe, Olivier Giroud and Ousmane Dembele up top.

    Benzema, meanwhile, has already left Qatar and flew home to Madrid on Sunday morning.

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