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Big blow for France, Benzema pulls out of World Cup

Karim Benzema has been forced to pull out of the tournament with an injury barely 24 hours before it starts.

The Real Madrid striker had to quit the defending champions’ training session on Saturday night after sustaining a thigh injury.

Saturday was the first time Benzema, who has been struggling with a muscle problem, had trained with the French squad since they arrived in Qatar.

He was immediately ruled out of France’s opening game against Australia, but an MRI scan revealed a tear that needs three weeks to heal, effectively ruling out of the tournament.

He is likely to be replaced in the French team for the Group D match with Australia on Wednesday by AC Milan striker Olivier Giroud

“I’ve never given up in my life but tonight I have to think of the team, as I have always done,” Benzema wrote on Instagram.

“Reason tells me to give my place to someone who can help our squad have a great World Cup.”

Apart from Giroud, Borussia Dortmund’s Marcus Thuram, called up this week to replace Christopher Nkunku, is another potential replacement.

At 34, Benzema is unlikely to get the chance to play in another World Cup, leaving his career unfulfilled at the international level.

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