France coach declines to touch upon Karim Benzema’s rumored World Cup return

AL KHOR, Qatar — France coach Didier Deschamps refused to verify Wednesday a report that star ahead Karim Benzema may rejoin Les Bleus in Qatar earlier than they tackle Argentina within the World Cup Ultimate on Sunday (10 a.m. ET on FOX and the FOX Sports activities app).

Spanish outlet Marca claimed Tuesday that the 2022 Ballon d’Or winner has returned to full coaching with Actual Madrid, which he helped win the UEFA Champions League earlier this yr, which means there is a chance he’ll at the least be in attendance for Sunday’s last. Benzema was initially named to Deschamps’s squad for the 2022 FIFA World Cup however was injured earlier than France performed its first recreation of the match. However he was by no means changed from the roster, which makes him eligible to return.

Requested by FOX Sports activities following Les Bleus 2-0 semifinal win over Morocco if Benzema was en route again to the World Cup, Deschamps politely declined to say whether or not the report was true. However he additionally didn’t deny it.

“I don’t really want to answer that question,” Deschamps mentioned following a protracted pause. “Next question. I do apologize.”

Deschamps mentioned Nov. 29 that Benzema wouldn’t come again. 

Apart from Benzema’s standing as one the world’s most prolific strikers, one motive for Deschamps’ potential about-face is the actual fact France’s camp has been ravaged by sickness in current days. Midfielder Adrien Rabiot and defender Dayot Upamecano didn’t practice on Tuesday. Phrase is winger Kingsley Coman can also be sick. None of them performed in opposition to Morocco. Rabiot wasn’t even on the substitutes bench. 

“We’ve had a few cases of with flu-like symptoms,” Deschamps mentioned. “We’re all trying to be careful so that it doesn’t spread.”

If France can beat Lionel Messi’s Albiceleste on Sunday and repeat as world champions, one thing solely two nations have executed earlier than on the quadrennial occasion and none since Brazil six many years in the past, it could mark Benzema’s first World Cup title. Benzema was left off of France’s workforce in 2018 after he was banned from worldwide play for allegedly blackmailing French teammate Matthieu Valbuena. Benzema wasn’t summoned to the nationwide workforce once more till June 2021, virtually six years after his final call-up, regardless of being arguably France’s greatest ahead.

Benzema has received loads of trophies in his illustrious profession, together with 5 Champions League titles. However the World Cup would undoubtedly be his crown jewel — particularly since that is probably the final likelihood for the soon-to-be 35-year-old.

Benzema has scored six objectives in all competitions this season.

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Doug McIntyre is a soccer author for FOX Sports activities. Earlier than becoming a member of FOX Sports activities in 2021, he was a employees author with ESPN and Yahoo Sports activities and he has coated United States males’s and girls’s nationwide groups at a number of FIFA World Cups. Observe him on Twitter @ByDougMcIntyre.

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