Injured Benzema misses out on friendly
Karim Benzema, injured when playing for Real Madrid on Tuesday, was the notable absentee from coach Laurent Blanc’s France squad announced yesterday for next week’s international friendly in Germany.
The game in Bremen next Wednesday is the last run out before Blanc announces his list of players for the European Championships and the three warm-ups leading to the competition in Poland and Ukraine.
Benzema suffered a thigh injury in the Champions League stalemate against CSKA Moscow in Russia, with Blanc confirming the former Lyon forward will be sidelined for up to a fortnight.
“Unfortunately, I saw his injury live during Real’s match in Moscow and it seemed difficult for me to count on him for this friendly against Germany,” said Blanc.
“He has moved up another level with his club this season so it will be up to the others to get the job done and score goals.”
Blanc, who is also missing another attacking option in Loic Remy, recalled Tottenham’s Louis Saha, the veteran joining fellow strikers Olivier Giroud, who has netted 16 times for Montpellier this campaign, and Kevin Gameiro of Paris Saint Germain.
In midfield, Morgan Amalfitano has earned a first call up, a reward for the 26-year-old’s good season with Marseille.
Blanc, when asked who would captain the side, said only that one of three players – Hugo Lloris, Philippe Mexes or Eric Abidal – would be carrying “extra responsibility”.
Since taking over after the fiasco of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, Blanc has rotated the captaincy, in order to allow the natural leaders to emerge.