The 33-year-old saw a first-half shot on goal saved by Danny Ward in his first international appearance since October 2015
Karim Benzema made his first French appearance in almost six years when he started Wednesday’s friendly against Wales, but his return included a penalty saved in the first half.
The Real Madrid star was included in the France squad for Euro 2020 last month, ending an exile that stems from his role in the Mathieu Valbuena sex tape scandal.
Benzema started against Wales on Wednesday alongside Kylian Mbappe and Antoine Griezmann – who both scored, as did submarine Ousmane Dembele – forming a strong attacking trio for Didier Deschamps’ side as France moved lost 3-0.
How did Benzema’s comeback go?
In the middle of the first half, France received a penalty when Welsh defender Neco Williams was penalized for a handball in the box and received a red card for refusing a scoring opportunity.
Benzema stepped forward and went low to his left, but goaltender Danny Ward made a good diving save to ward off the forward. The striker has now missed each of his last three penalties for France.
End of Benzema’s exile
The 33-year-old striker amassed 81 caps and scored 27 goals for the Blues ahead of his two-goal match against Armenia in October 2015.
This would be Benzema’s last game before the start of his international exile, and it has long seemed like his last appearance in France – but after fantastic form for Madrid, Deschamps decided to give Benzema another chance with France before their Euro 2020 campaign.
What was said?
Speaking of his decision to reinstate Benzema, Deschamps said “things have changed” but did not reveal much else.
“Things have changed. Me, and certainly on Karim’s side too, of course,” said the boss of France. Telepod. “I’m not going to tell you when, how, if it was possible before. The conditions weren’t right, they are today. If I made that decision, you can imagine it was fine. “
After Wednesday’s game, Deschamps said TF1 Benzema’s missed penalty: “Karim was unhappy, but he was very present. A goal would have made him happy, and me too, but if he keeps them for later …
“It was an important moment for him [to play for France again]. He is part of a collective in the way he plays. ”
When asked what he thought of his return to international football, Benzema said: “Good, very good. I had very good feelings, with a good week of work. A lot of pride and joy and desire to play and show what I did on the spot.
“A game is like that, the main thing is to create opportunities, to win and to do better next time.”