FRANCE could be without Karim Benzema for their opening World Cup game against Australia after he limped out of Saturday’s training session.

The reigning world champions begin the defence of their title in Qatar on Tuesday.

Benzema failed to complete France's training session on Saturday

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Benzema failed to complete France’s training session on SaturdayCredit: Reuters
The Real Madrid star is suffering from two separate injury issues

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The Real Madrid star is suffering from two separate injury issuesCredit: Reuters

But they have received some bad news just days out from getting their campaign underway.

According to L’Equipe via Get French Football News, the Ballon d’Or winner is still being plagued by both a hamstring problem AND knee strains.

Those reports gained further credibility just hours later when Benzema pulled up and promptly ended his training session before the rest of the France squad.

His fitness issues now make him a doubt for their opening game against Australia.

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And he is the latest in a long line of injury problems for Didier Deschamps after Paul Pogba, N’Golo Kante, Presnel Kimpembe and Mike Maignan were all ruled out of selection.

Raphael Varane and Jules Kounde have been included in the squad, but remain doubts as they recover from their respective injuries.

Benzema played just 26 minutes of football for Real Madrid in November, leading both club and country to raise concerns.

If he is unavailable for the Australia match then manager Deschamps will turn to AC Milan striker Olivier Giroud.

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Giroud, 36, is just two goals behind Thierry Henry’s French national team record of 51 – a tally the ex-Arsenal and Chelsea man will have his sights set on in Qatar.

He led the line for France at the 2018 World Cup and played a major role in them lifting the trophy for a second time.

Benzema then returned to the national team for the Euros last year after six years away from the France squad.

His hiatus from international football came following a blackmail case involving former teammate Mathieu Valbuena and a sex tape.

He replaced Giroud for the Euros, but France were knocked out in the last 16 by Switzerland.

Benzema scored 44 goals in 46 games for Real Madrid last season, inspiring Carlo Ancelotti’s side to a LaLiga-Champions League double.

And that incredible campaign was capped off by him claiming the Ballon d’Or in October ahead of Sadio Mane and Kevin de Bruyne.

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After France’s opening game against Australia, they will also face Denmark and Tunisia in Group D.

Deschamps men are looking to end a run of three successive World Cup holders exiting in the group stage of the following tournament – Italy (2010), Spain (2014), Germany (2018).



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