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Fiji Time: 1:09 AM on Thursday 31 July

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Benzema moves up

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Tuesday, June 10, 2014

LILLE, France - With injury banishing Franck Ribery from the World Cup in Brazil, Karim Benzema has now been thrust onto centre stage for France.

Ribery is widely considered France's most creative spark and his absence will leave a huge hole to fill in Les Bleus' attacking line-up.

Yet cometh the hour, cometh the man, and perhaps this is the ideal opportunity for the country's other mercurial talent, Benzema, to really start to deliver on his enormous potential.

Recovered from a groin strain, Benzema will now carry the hopes of a nation on his shoulders.

At 26 years of age, his record of 19 goals in 65 internationals for France is hardly record-breaking but something has changed for Benzema this year to offer hope that maybe he is ready to come of age.

He comes into his first World Cup off the back of his best season in a Real Madrid shirt, in which he scored 24 goals as his team won their 10th Champions League crown.

"I'm one of the old-guard in the French team and I have to set an example," he said.


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