France striker Karim Benzema has been forced to pull out of the World Cup in Qatar due to injury, Les Bleus have confirmed in a statement.
This year's Ballon d'Or winner missed Real Madrid's last three games ahead of the tournament and reports earlier on Saturday indicated that he had suffered a fresh setback in training for Qatar 2022.
That news was later confirmed by France in a short post on social media.
"Karim Benzema has pulled out of the World Cup with a thigh injury," Les Bleus said in a short statement.
"The whole team shares Karim's disappointment and wishes him a speedy recovery."
Karim @Benzema has pulled out of the World Cup with a thigh injury.The whole team shares Karim's disappointment and wishes him a speedy recovery💙#FiersdetreBleus pic.twitter.com/fclx9pFkGzNovember 19, 2022
France kick off the defence of their trophy against Austria on Tuesday and coach Didier Deschamps will now need to decide on a replacement for the Real Madrid striker.
Denmark and Tunisia are the other two teams in Group C.
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Ben Hayward is Weekend Editor for FourFourTwo. A European football writer with over 15 years’ experience, he has covered games all over the world - including three World Cups, several Champions League finals, Euros, Copa América - and has spent much of that time in Spain. He currently divides his time between Barcelona and London.