A training ground injury to Karim Benzema’s thigh will sideline him through the World Cup. It’s a tough loss for France as they lose their star striker. Benzema hurt his left thigh while training with the team on Saturday in Doha. The 2022 Ballon d’Or winner felt a pain in his quad during a sprint toward the end of the training session. That lead to an MRI, which confirmed a significant enough injury that he’s been ruled out for the tournament.

France had already lost two important players – RB Leipzig striker Christopher Nkunku and Paris Saint-Germain centre back PResnel Kimpembe. Now also without Benzema to lead their attack, the squad is looking thin heading into their first match of the tournament.

Benzema, 34, had played just 26 minutes of football in the past month as he dealt with muscular fatigue. Saturday’s training session was the first time he was practicing with the France squad since they got together on Monday. Unfortunately he wasn’t ready, and now he may not even be healthy when he returns to Real Madrid in December. The Inside injuries algorithm has given him a five week Optimal Recovery Time for a grade 2 strain.