Football

Benzema taken off due to ‘dead leg’: Deschamps

Karim Benzema asked to be substituted due to a knock as world champions France beat Bulgaria 3-0 in their final friendly yesterday morning (Singapore time), one week before the start of their Euro 2020 campaign.

The Real Madrid striker left the Stade de France pitch in the 41st minute in France's last match before they take on Germany in their European Championship Group F opener on June 15.

Olivier Giroud, who replaced Benzema, made the most of his time on the pitch with his 45th and 46th international goals.

Antoine Griezmann had given Les Bleus the lead with a 29th-minute bicycle-kick.

Fans were worried when Benzema landed awkwardly after attempting a header and had to be checked by doctors.

But France coach Didier Deschamps played down the injury, saying it was a "dead leg".

"He took a good hit on the muscle above the knee," Deschamps told broadcaster M6. "He stopped playing because he felt it hardening... the medical staff are at his side."

Giroud seized on his opportunity as he cut home Benjamin Pavard's cross at the near post in the 85th minute and tapped in Wissam Ben Yedder's cross in added time to narrow the gap with France's all-time top scorer Thierry Henry to five goals. - AFP, REUTERS

Football