There is no doubt that France is one of the world’s top footballing nations. The semifinal victory over Morocco sent France to their second successive FIFA World Cup final.
However, it is not just at the international level where France is excelling at the moment – domestically, too, they are doing very well. Just yesterday (Thursday), Real Madrid played a friendly match against Leganes behind closed doors, with Karim Benzema starting up front for Los Blanco.
The 34-year-old only returned to action a few days ago, following a lengthy spell on the sidelines due to a thigh injury, and it was always going to be difficult for him to get back up to speed in time for Russia.
Benzema’s withdrawal deprives France of one of their key players. Still, manager Didier Deschamps refused to call up another striker in his place, meaning that the Ballon d’Or holder remains officially part of Les Bleus’ roster.
This decision has sparked plenty of debate among fans and pundits, with many arguing that Deschamps should have given someone else a chance instead.
There has been much speculation in recent weeks over the potential involvement of Karim Benzema in France’s World Cup final against Argentina this weekend.
Despite being initially included, the Real Madrid striker was not named in Didier Deschamps’ squad for the tournament in Qatar 2022, and there were reports that he had fallen out with the head coach.
However, Benzema could still win a winners’ medal if Les Bleus are successful on Sunday, as he is currently registered as an official member of the squad.
Benzema is unlikely to be called up for a potential appearance in Qatar, given what the team has accomplished without him, despite his injury recovery and the fact that he was never replaced.
For Deschamps or the French Football Federation to insert an influential player like Benzema into the mix for such a crucial game would be a weird move.
As Blaise Matuidi demonstrated by joining in the postgame celebrations following France’s 2-0 win over Morocco, it would be unwise to assume that he would not make a similar appearance in support of his international teammates.
That could be in jeopardy, though, because of the media’s fixation on the continuing tension between Benzema and Deschamps, which hasn’t subsided despite the former’s comeback.
Benzema’s dramatic international career includes being left out of the team for over five years because of his connection to a failed blackmail attempt on former colleague Mathieu Valbuena.
Despite being a fantastic player, the Real star seemed destined to leave a tainted international legacy due to his involvement in the Valbuena incident and poor luck, despite having found redemption with France up until this recent setback.
If France defeats Argentina on Sunday, Karim Benzema will add another trophy to his resume – even though he won’t have a hand in it. The French coach is standing by his choice to use a lesser squad than the 26-man group to which he was entitled, so the question of whether or not he believes Deschamps or the FFF are denying him an opportunity to contribute toward it will likely rumble on.