The French national team loses what is probably their most important player before the tournament has even started: Karim Benzema, who was injured again during his training session with the team yesterday, will no longer be able to take part in the tournament, according to the French Football Federation.

French media confirmed early on Saturday evening that Benzema would be out at least for the first group game against Australia. A few hours later, the message about the final end of the World Cup followed.

“In my life I’ve never given up, but tonight I have to think of the team like I always have, so reason tells me I have to make room for someone who can help our group, a good one to play the World Cup. Thank you for all your messages of support,” the Ballon d’Or winner wrote to his fans.

The 34-year-old center forward traveled to the national team when he was already ailing and only yesterday was able to train with his colleagues on the pitch for the first time. Now Benzema has to give up his place because of muscular problems. It is not yet clear who national coach Didier Deschamps will nominate as a replacement.

This article was originally published on as Heavy blow for France: Karim Benzema confirms World Cup elimination.