The 2022 Ballon d’Or winner is still registered on France’s World Cup squad list.
France manager Didier Deschamps kept his cards close to his chest when asked the inevitable question – will Karim Benzema be at the World Cup final?
On November 20, Benzema’s hopes of becoming a World Cup winner appeared to be over. The striker tore a muscle in his left thigh in his first full training session. The French Football Federation later ruled him out on the eve of the tournament, yet didn’t select a replacement.
So while Benzema has not played, or even made the bench at all for matter, he is still technically part of the French World Cup squad.
The Ballon d’Or winner, who has had knee and hamstring problems as well this season, returned to Real Madrid training this week. His fitness levels are unclear at this stage.
What has Deschamps said?
After a 2-0 semi-final win over Morocco sealed France a second straight World Cup final appearance on the same day, Deschamps refused to rule a sensational Benzema comeback out.
“‘There is a report today that Karim Benzema could come back to Qatar,” a reporter said to the France manager at his post-match press conference.
“First of all, is it true? And second of all, if it is, is there any possibility that you would be able to use him for a few minutes in the final if you needed him?”
Deschamps replied: “I don’t really want to answer that question.”
He then let out a smile, quickly adding: “Next question.”
Can Benzema still be a World Cup winner with no game time?
Incredibly, Benzema can still become a World Cup winner even if he doesn’t play at all. France still have the striker and the injured Lucas Hernandez registered on their squad. So as neither player was replaced, they can still collect a World Cup winner’s medal if France defeat Argentina in Sunday’s final.
Judging by the latest odds on Bet365, the final could go either way. France are favorites for back-to-back World Cup titles, but barely. The bookie suggests the two finalists have an implied probability of 36% for glory this weekend at the time of writing.