DOHA (AFP) – World Cup holders France will need Kylian Mbappe at his best in Qatar following the loss of Ballon d’Or winner Karim Benzema to injury, coach Didier Deschamps said yesterday.
France begin their defence against Australia tomorrow as they look to move on from a troubled build-up which saw several key players pull out injured. Benzema was then forced to withdraw over the weekend.
The Real Madrid striker succumbed to a left thigh injury, although he played no part in France’s 2018 triumph in Russia when Mbappe burst onto the world stage.
The Paris Saint-Germain striker was just 19 but scored four goals during that World Cup, including one in the 4-2 final win over Croatia.
“He is still a young player, just a bit less than four years ago, but he already did very important things four years ago,” Deschamps told reporters in Doha.