Deschamps 'extremely sorry' for Benzema as France superstar is ruled out of World Cup
Didier Deschamps vowed the show must go on for France after the latest crushing blow to their World Cup hopes saw Karim Benzema ruled out of the tournament.
Benzema, who missed Les Bleus' triumph at Russia 2018 while out of favour amid an ongoing blackmail investigation, was hoping to play a big part in the trophy defence this time.
He was battling to prove his fitness after recent injury strife with Madrid, and Saturday's training session was his first full on-pitch activity with the France squad of this camp.
The 34-year-old could not make it through unscathed though, pulling out after feeling discomfort. He had been bothered by muscular fatigue in the left quadriceps while with his club, and this may be a recurrence of that problem.
Benzema underwent an MRI at a Doha hospital, the French Football Federation said, and he faces three weeks of recovery. He has been withdrawn from France's squad, with Deschamps able to call in a replacement.
Deschamps said: "I'm extremely sorry for Karim who had made this World Cup a major objective."
World Cup holders France begin their defence on Tuesday against Australia, before also going up against Denmark and Tunisia in Group D.
Deschamps has Kylian Mbappe, Antoine Griezmann and Olivier Giroud as outstanding forward options, but the loss of Benzema is nevertheless a significant blow. It follows France also losing RB Leipzig's prolific Christopher Nkunku this week due to knee ligament damage sustained in training.
They are also without star midfielders Paul Pogba and N'Golo Kante because of injury, and must be wondering what the coming weeks have in store for them.
Deschamps is determined to strike a positive note, saying: "Despite this new blow, I have every confidence in my squad. We are going to do everything to meet the immense challenge that awaits us."