France happier without Benzema? Tchoumeni sets record straight after Les Bleus storm into World Cup knockout stage

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Aurelien Tchouameni has responded to speculation that France are happier without Karim Benzema in their World Cup squad.
  • Benzema out of World Cup
  • France already through to last 16
  • Tchouameni sets record straight

WHAT HAPPENED? Ballon d'Or winner Benzema was ruled out of World Cup 2022 after suffering a thigh injury in training. Uruguay captain Diego Lugano has claimed Les Bleus are happier without the striker in the squad, which has provoked a strong response from Benzema's Real Madrid and France team-mate Tchouameni.

WHAT THEY SAID: "The group is fine, we’re all living well together, and I wanted to talk about something we saw about Karim Benzema’s departure, about this information that we feel better since he’s not here," he told reporters. "This is totally false, because even when he was still with us, things were going well. We all felt sad about his injury. In any case, what I can tell you is that since we arrived, things have been going very well between us."

THE BIGGER PICTURE: France are without a host of key players at World Cup 2022, with Benzema joining Paul Pogba and N'Golo Kante on the sidelines. Lucas Hernandez has also been forced out with a serious knee injury, but France have impressed despite the absences. Les Bleus have won both of their group games so far to become the first team to qualify for the knockout stages.

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Karim Benzema Francia Qatar 2022

Kylian Mbappe France Denmark World Cup 2022

Tchouameni World Cup 2022

DID YOU KNOW? Kylian Mbappe has now scored 31 goals with France, equalling Zinedine Zidane. Antoine Griezmann, who delivered an assist on France's second goal against Denmark, has also equalized Zidane with 26 assists.

WHAT NEXT FOR FRANCE? Les Bleus conclude their group campaign against Tunisia on Wednesday.