Karim Benzema a doubt for France’s World Cup opener
Karim Benzema trained alone with former Real Madrid team-mate Raphaël Varane.
With five days to go before France’s World Cup opener against Australia, it remains to be seen if Karim Benzema will be Didier Deschamps’ starting eleven. The Real Madrid forward trained with the ball in France’s first session in Qatar on Thursday, but after 15 minutes, he left the training session with team-mate Raphaël Varane, who he worked with alone for the rest of his session.
Benzema entered the Al-Sadd Stadium smiling, looking like a player with little concern ahead of a training session open to the public and where the focus was going to be on his physical condition. Alongside Kylian Mbappé, with who he spoke for a minute in the moments before training, the Ballon d’Or winner started the session by stretching and playing with the ball, while constantly looking at his left leg, jogging and doing his best to avoid any setbacks. The good news is that his improvement is evident, as on Tuesday he did not even touch the ball in Clairefontaine.
The player’s entourage and the national team’s medical staff reiterate that all of Benzema’s individualised work is the result of a plan designed to get him in top condition for France’s World Cup opener. On Tuesday, the world champions begin their title defence against Australia at 10 pm (2 pm ET) and it is not yet certain that the Frenchman will be in the starting line-up.
To be in with a chance of featuring in the first match against Australia on Tuesday, Manchester United centre-back Varane will have to take part in a group session on Friday or Saturday.