WORLD CUP 2022 – Forfeit of Karim Benzema: Terrible for Benzema, appalling for the Blues

The history of the World Cup will remember that Karim Benzema scored three goals in a first round that everyone ended up forgetting in 2014. But above all that he missed three editions (2010, 2018, 2022) that he should have splashed out of his class. This Saturday, at the end of the night in Doha, the news fell like a cleaver. At the pinnacle of his talent, even though he patched things up with Didier Deschamps and has just been crowned Ballon d’Or for the first time in his career, Karim Benzema must once again pass his turn because, this time, his body gave up.

There will only remain this double against Honduras, this goal against Switzerland and this elimination without thrill against Germany. A meager booty for one of the best French players in history. At 34, after having won everything with the biggest club in the world, he was tackling the biggest challenge of his career.

Karim Benzema during training in Doha during the 2022 World Cup

Credit: Getty Images

He will probably miss this great blue adventure forever.

Four years after missing the world title of his selection, the Madrid native, banned for five years from Clairefontaine, was on a mission to Doha as if to exorcise his demons. They caught him at the worst time, the day before the competition kicked off. His fate is cruel. He will probably miss this great blue adventure forever to inscribe it in the collective legend of his country. Yet he had the talent and the generation to achieve it.

It is not certain that with him, the Blues would have gone all the way in Doha. Without him, hope has shrunk even further. Because if the crushing blow is terrible for the Madrilenian, the earthquake is gigantic for a French team already orphaned by many executives. The contrary winds, numerous for several weeks, suddenly turned into a devastating cyclone. How can we imagine getting by without Pogba, Kanté, or Benzema, three of the seven most important men (with Mbappé, Lloris, Griezmann and Varane) of Didier Deschamps?

What can we expect from the Blues? “This team is like throwing a big coin in the air”

How can France recover from this?

How can a selection, even with a reservoir as deep as that of the Blues, recover from the package of the best player in the world and his two best midfielders? Especially since the epidemic has spread to the linings (Presnel Kimpembe, Mike Maignan, Christopher Nkunku). No qualified nation has had to face so many withdrawals in a final sprint that looks like a game of massacres.

France does not only lose a Ballon d’Or this Saturday, it must above all do without the one on which it has been betting for a year. The one for which she changed system (before returning to it). The one who made him win the League of Nations. The one who, with Kylian Mbappé, made the whole world tremble in an association that had proven its formidable effectiveness. Constrained, already, to align a makeshift hinge against Australia, France counted on its fire attack to carry it as far as possible. But the certainties of the Blues have never had such a short life as at the moment.

Of course, they are lucky to be able to count on an Olivier Giroud in full swing in Milan and in selection. But without insulting him, the level reached by Benzema, particularly last season, gives an idea of ​​the void he leaves. In 2018, on the side of Moscow, France was world champion without him. But, four years later, we never imagined him so far from accomplishing the same feat.

Olivier Giroud replaced by Didier Deschamps during a match for the France team.

Credit: Getty Images

source site