WORLD CUP 2022 – Karim Benzema forfeit: terrible for Benzema, terrible for the Blues

The history of the World Cup will remember that Karim Benzema scored three goals in a first leg that everyone ended up forgetting in 2014. But above all that he missed three editions (2010, 2018, 2022) that should have leapt out of his class. This Saturday, as the night ended in Doha, the news fell like a cleaver. At the peak of his talent, even if he has made peace with Didier Deschamps and has just been crowned Ballon d’Or for the first time in his career, Karim Benzema must once again pass his turn because, this time the physique of he gave in.

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Benzema: ‘I’ve never given up, but I have to think about the team’


Only this brace against Honduras, this goal against Switzerland and this thrilling elimination against Germany will remain. A meager haul for one of the best French players in history. At 34, having won it all with the biggest club in the world, he was facing the biggest challenge of his career.

Karim Benzema training in Doha during the 2022 World Cup

Credit: Getty Images

He will probably miss this big blue adventure forever.

Four years after losing his selection’s world title, the Madrilenian, banned for five years from Clairefontaine, was on a mission to Doha as if to exorcise his demons. They caught him at the worst time, the day before the competition started. His fate is cruel. He will probably miss this great blue adventure forever to inscribe it in the collective legend of his country. Yet he had the talent and the generation to achieve it.

What should we expect from the Blues? “This team is like tossing a big coin in the air”

It is not certain that the Blues would have reached Doha with him. Without him, hope dwindled even further. Because if the crushing blow is terrible for the Madrid player, the earthquake is gigantic for a French team already orphaned of so many managers. The headwinds, numerous for several weeks, suddenly turned into a devastating cyclone. How can you imagine getting by without Pogba, Kanté or Benzema, three of the seven most important men (with Mbappé, Lloris, Griezmann and Varane) of Didier Deschamps?

How can France recover from this?

How can a selection, even with a tank as deep as that of the Blues, recover from the package of the best player in the world and its two best midfielders? Especially as the epidemic has extended to linings (Presnel Kimpembe, Mike Maignan, Christopher Nkunku). No qualifying nation has faced so many withdrawals in a final sprint that it feels like a game of slaughter.

“Whatever the result, it will be the end of Didier Deschamps”

France doesn’t just lose a Ballon d’Or this Saturday, above all they have to do without the one they’ve been betting on for a year. The one for which he changed his system (before going back to it). What made him win the League of Nations. The one who, with Kylian Mbappé, made the whole world tremble in a partnership that had demonstrated his formidable effectiveness. Forced, already, to line up an improvised hinge against Australia, France relied on her fire attack to carry her as far as possible. But the certainties of the Azzurri have never had such a short life as in this moment.

Of course, they are lucky to be able to count on an Olivier Giroud in full swing in Milan and in selection. But without insulting him, the level reached by Benzema, especially last season, gives an idea of ​​the void he leaves. In 2018, alongside Moscow, France were world champions without him. But, four years later, we never imagined him so far from accomplishing the same feat.

Olivier Giroud replaced by Didier Deschamps during a match for France.

Credit: Getty Images

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