Karim Benzema, Real Madrid forced out of tournament due to injury 24 hours before start

Benzema, 34, who won the Ballon d'Or last month, injured his left thigh during a training session on Saturday.

He was immediately ruled out of France's opening game against Australia, later confirmed that the damage was so severe that he would not play in the tournament.

"I've never given up in my life, but tonight I have to think about the team, as I've always done," Benzema wrote on Instagram.

French coach Didier Deschamps said he felt "extremely sad" for Benzema, "who made this World Cup a major objective."

Benzema missed France's victory at the 2018 tournament as part of a year-long boycott from the national team related to a blackmail scandal.

Benzema is not the only headline act missing through injury in Qatar. Senegal and Bayern Munich forward Sadio Mane was ruled out last week with a knee injury.

Argentina have lost midfielder Giovanni Lo Celso. Germany will be without forwards Marco Reus and Timo Werner, and Portugal are missing striker Diogo Jota.