Karim Benzema is fully fit to get back into the club season.
After leaving France's World Cup squad in November due to an injury, Benzema has had a fairly quick recovery and has been training with normality the past week with Real Madrid. He even played in a friendly.
In Real Madrid training today. pic.twitter.com/bQjmZiE0vc
☔ @Benzema#RMCity pic.twitter.com/hf9OlnqtW2— Real Madrid C.F. (@realmadrid) December 13, 2022
Now, after the hard-fought and devastating loss of Les Bleus against Argentina in the World Cup final on Sunday, whether Benzema could have made a difference in the game has come into question.
Should Benzema have been re-called for France?
In the 40th minute and trailing 2-0, Didier Deschamps was forced to make a substitution in the attacking front for Olivier Giroud — who was in doubt to even play the game because of a knee injury.
Giroud's reaction to getting subbed off before halftime pic.twitter.com/uBq7gmizyY— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) December 18, 2022
France's all-time leading goalscorer had little to no impact on the pitch and was not fit enough to finish the first half.
Considering the lack of striker depth for France throughout the World Cup and seeing reports that Benzema was available to play tonight, we question why we didn’t see Madrid’s No. 9 make an appearance tonight.
| Karim Benzema’s name is still on France’s team sheet. #WorldCup pic.twitter.com/7CamIA1fdG
Seeing the 34-year-old’s evolution and recovery in Madrid over the last couple weeks, we don’t see why (aside from politics and egos) France's coaching staff didn’t decide to wait for the current Ballon d’Or winner to recover before sending him home in the first place or why they didn’t even consider re-calling him over the last couple days.
This last one is one of the reasons why Benzema is reportedly upset with Deschamps and the staff (and why he refused to attend the final).
Karim Benzema has cut ALL contact with staff in the national team. He wanted to stay and see how his injury evolved, but Deschamps and the team doctor sent him home. @lequipe #rmalive— Madrid Zone (@theMadridZone) December 17, 2022
With a fit Benzema replacing Giroud as a substitute in the final, could the French have finished the game with a different result?
Could Benzema have made a difference for France in the final?
Mesut Özil believes so.
No Benzy, No Party ♂️— Mesut Özil (@M10) December 18, 2022
Benzema has been nothing but clutch for the French since he returned to the national team in 2021.
He’s played 14 games, scoring 10 goals and providing one assist along the way. He was also the team’s UEFA Nations League top scorer when they won the tournament in 2021.
And if that wasn’t enough, the last time France overcame a 2-0 deficit was with Benzema on the pitch.
The last time France overcame a 0-2 was against Belgium, when Benzema inspired a comeback with Mbappé & Theo scoring to make it 3-2. #rmalive pic.twitter.com/itTkzkLL4k
He's a player that you don't brag about leaving out, Didier.
At the end of the day, Deschamp’s substitutes had a great game and ignited an incredible set of comebacks that ultimately fell short.
In Benzema's case, his impact in this final will remain one of the biggest what-ifs in World Cup finals history.