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'Benzema still has my confidence' - Deschamps defends France striker after Hungary draw and gives Dembele update

07:59 BST 20/06/2021
Benzema Nego Hungary France
The Bleus boss has been pleased with the Real Madrid frontman's performances at Euro 2020, but admits he needs a goal

Didier Deschamps insists Karim Benzema still has his confidence after France's draw with Hungary, while also giving an update on Ousmane Dembele's injury.

France missed the chance to book their place in the Euro 2020 knockout stages after being held to a 1-1 draw by Hungary at Ferenc Puskas Stadium in Budapest.

Attila Fiola sent the home crowd into raptures when he opened the scoring right on half-time, but Antoine Griezmann bailed out Les Bleus when he finished a deflected pass from Kylian Mbappe to level proceedings in the 66th minute.

What's been said?

Benzema is still on the lookout for his first goal since being recalled to the France squad after a six-year exile, and once again struggled to find openings in the final third on Saturday afternoon.

Deschamps admits the Real Madrid star needs to find the net to boost his confidence, but has been pleased with his overall contribution so far.

“Benzema has a lot of experience and he will have no doubts about himself”, the Bleus head coach told his post-match press conference.

“He has done very good things, but he has lacked a goal. He knows people want him to score, but he knows it’s just about that. He is a striker that needs to score but the essential thing is that he has confidence and that he knows he has mine.”

Deschamps also defended Benjamin Pavard, who was caught out of position when Fiola ran through to score.

"He was in difficulty? That's your analysis," the 55-year-old added. "He was important in the offensive phases. He participated so much in the offensive phase, it cost him a lot defensively, but he was still in control."

Benzema's stats 

Benzema played in two European Championships before being omitted from Deschamps plans in 2015, but failed to score in either the 2008 or 2012 finals.

The 33-year-old has now gone eight matches without scoring at the Euros despite having had 30 shots, which gives him the third-worst record in history behind Clarence Seedorf (33) and Andres Iniesta (34). 

Benzema was still involved in France's best moves against Hungary and set up a gilt-edge chance for Mbappe in the first half, but was eventually replaced by Olivier Giroud with 14 minutes left to play.

Dembele's knock

France will now be sweating on the fitness of Barcelona winger Dembele ahead of their final Group F fixture against Portugal, a repeat of the 2016 final.

Dembele had to be withdrawn early in the second half against Hungary after going down injured, and Deschamps was able to given an update on his condition after the game.

"He’s been hit on the tendon, behind the knee, it will be necessary to check." he said. "He continued for a bit, he wanted to cross and felt a fairly significant discomfort. I brought him off. It will be necessary to keep an eye on it."

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