France hit by Karim Benzema injury scare with the striker forced off in the first half against Bulgaria in their final friendly before Euro 2020… but coaching staff allay fears by claiming he came off with a ‘knock’
France have been given an injury scare just days before the Euros kick off after Karim Benzema was forced off in the friendly against Bulgaria.
Just three days before Euro 2020 gets underway and a week ahead of France’s opening fixture against Germany, Real Madrid striker Benzema went down with what appeared to be a knee injury in the first half against Bulgaria.
After sustaining the injury from an awkward landing following a header, Benzema immediately signalled to the bench to be replaced, before dropping to the ground at the Stade de France.
Karim Benzema was forced off injured in the opening period against Bulgaria on Tuesday night
The experienced Real Madrid striker was replaced with just minutes remaining in the first half
After treatment on the pitch, Benzema was eventually replaced by Olivier Giroud with just minutes remaining in the opening period on Tuesday night.
It was a hugely worrying sign for France, but according to Get French Football News, the country’s coaching staff reportedly told a pitchside reporter that Benzema received a ‘knock’ and nothing more serious.
Further reports from French television channel TF1 claim that Benzema limped down the tunnel at half-time, but was able to move without any assistance.
France will now be sweating over Benzema’s fitness ahead of the Euros, which begin when Italy take on Turkey on Friday evening.
Benzema has just returned to the international set-up following six years in wilderness – having previously been cast aside by manager Didier Deschamps since 2015 following his alleged role in the sex-tape blackmail of former France team-mate Mathieu Valbuena.
And ahead of his Euro 2020 campaign, the experienced striker recently opened up on his joy at returning for France.
Benzema talks to France boss Didier Deschamps on the sidelines after being replaced
Benzema told Marca: ‘I feel like the happiest man in the world. For me, what makes me happiest is my family and football.
‘I am happy in Madrid, and I have returned with France to play the European Championship; I can only be proud, happy and looking forward to starting the tournament.
‘It is a very, very strong team throughout, from the goalkeeper to the midfield and the attack, with players in the best clubs in the world. Speaking about the favourite is more something spoken outside of here – we know the strength that we have in this team, although you have to show it.’
World champions France head into this summer’s tournament as favourites, and even without Benzema they would still fancy their chances.
However, they will be praying the 33-year-old fully recovers in time for their Euro opener against Germany next Tuesday evening.
Benzema acknowledges those in attendance at the Stade de France as he walks off the pitch