Injured Benzema misses out on France friendly

AFP, Thursday 23 Feb 2012

Karim Benzema, injured when playing for Real Madrid on Tuesday, was the notable absentee from coach Laurent Blanc's France squad announced Thursday for next week's international friendly in Germany

Real Madrid's Karim Benzema (Photo: Reuters)

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 Tuesday's 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 and it seemed difficult for me to count on him," 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.

"Personally I know him well," said the France coach. "Technically he's very strong. He often makes the right choice on how to play the ball and I think that he has an interesting quality in midfield for this match."

Blanc, when asked who would captain the side, said only say 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, Blanc has rotated the captaincy, in order to allow the natural leaders to emerge.

France squad

Goalkeepers: Cedric Carrasso (Bordeaux), Hugo Lloris (Lyon), Steve Mandanda (Marseille)

Defenders: Eric Abidal (Barcelona/ESP), Mathieu Debuchy (Lille), Patrice Evra (Manchester United/ENG), Philippe Mexes (AC Milan/ITA), Adil Rami (Valencia/ESP), Anthony Reveillere (Lyon), Mamadou Sakho (Paris Saint Germain)

Midfielders: Morgan Amalfitano (Marseille), Yohan Cabaye (Newcastle/ENG), Alou Diarra (Marseille), Florent Malouda (Chelsea/ENG), Marvin Martin (Sochaux), Jeremy Menez (PSG), Yann Mvila (Rennes), Samir Nasri (Manchester City/ENG), Franck Ribery (Bayern Munich/GER), Mathieu Valbuena (Marseille)

Strikers: Kevin Gameiro (PSG), Olivier Giroud (Montpellier), Louis Saha (Tottenham/ENG).

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