FIFA World Cup: Deschamps hopes Benzema can strike big for France
Twelve months ago, Karim Benzema was France coach Didier Deschamps' biggest problem, but now the hope is that the in-form striker will be the solution for Les Bleus in Brazil
Paris: Twelve months ago, Karim Benzema was France coach Didier Deschamps' biggest problem, but now the hope is that the in-form striker will be the solution for Les Bleus in Brazil.
The 26-year-old Real Madrid striker comes into what will be his first World Cup after enjoying a liberating last six months, both on the field and off.
Benzema endured a shocking international goal drought of 1,222 minutes before coming good just in the nick of time, finally getting back among the goals in a 6-0 friendly win against Australia in October before scoring in the crucial 3-0 play-off second-leg victory over Ukraine in November that took France to the World Cup.
The former Lyon player has now scored four times in his last five international appearances, boosting his overall record for his country to 19 goals from 65 caps.
"When he plays at that level it is great for us," said Deschamps after Benzema scored one and helped set up another in a 2-0 defeat of the Netherlands in March.
"Let's hope he can keep it up. You can see it on his face. He is beaming and that is because he is feeling confident."
At his club Real Madrid, Benzema feels benefits from the presence of Zinedine Zidane, who is assistant coach.
Benzema says they stay behind at the end of training sessions "to work on aspects of my game, and then we chat about a little bit of everything."
Those chats might involve what it takes to win a World Cup, something 'Zizou' achieved in 1998, when France defeated Brazil in the final.