France's World Cup squad: Karim Benzema, Kylian Mbappe to headline title defence

Karim Benzema and Kylian Mbappe headline France head coach Didier Deschamps' squad for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

Sources have told ESPN that Benzema's fitness is not a worry to France staff despite the forward missing Real Madrid's final games before the World Cup due to muscular fatigue.

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"He's played an enormous amount, maybe too much at one point. Karim knows that the World Cup is very important for him. He hasn't refused to play for Real Madrid, he just wasn't in top form. He'll do everything to be ready for the 22nd [France's first match],'' Deschamps said.

Defending champions France will take just 10 players from the squad that lifted the title in Russia in 2018, with key midfield stars Paul Pogba and N'Golo Kante missing through injury.

Manchester United defender Raphael Varane has been selected despite suffering a knee injury last month. Sources have told ESPN that Varane's rehabilitation is going well though and he could be ready for the opening game against Australia.

"We have a huge challenge ahead of us. Nothing is bigger than the World Cup. But I have total faith in my players,'' Deschamps said.

"You can't change the physical form players are in. We play on the 22nd, so at least we have one week to prepare.''

Forward Olivier Giroud, who is two goals shy of Thierry Henry's all-time national scoring record of 51 goals, was also included.

Giroud was recalled in March after a nine-month hiatus following the team's early Euro 2021 exit and has been in good form for AC Milan.

"I think it's better for the France team that he's with us," said Deschamps about Giroud who remains second choice behind Ballon d'Or winner. "He knows his status.''

Paris Saint-Germain defender Presnel Kimpembe, who has just returned to training, is also included, as is highly-rated Madrid teenager Eduardo Camavinga.

France squad in full:

Goalkeepers: Alphonse Areola (West Ham United), Hugo Lloris (Tottenham Hotspur), Steve Mandanda (Rennes).

Defenders: Lucas Hernandez (Bayern Munich), Theo Hernandez (AC Milan), Presnel Kimpembe (Paris Saint-Germain), Ibrahima Konate (Liverpool), Jules Kounde (Barcelona), Benjamin Pavard (Bayern Munich), William Saliba (Arsenal), Dayot Upamecano (Bayern Munich), Raphael Varane (Manchester United).

Midfielders: Eduardo Camavinga (Real Madrid), Youssouf Fofana (Monaco), Matteo Guendouzi (Marseille), Adrien Rabiot (Juventus), Aurelien Tchouameni (Real Madrid), Jordan Veretout (Marseille)

Forwards: Karim Benzema (Real Madrid), Kingsley Coman (Bayern Munich), Ousmane Dembele (Barcelona), Olivier Giroud (AC Milan), Antoine Griezmann (Atletico Madrid), Kylian Mbappe (PSG), Christopher Nkunku (RB Leipzig).

Information from The Associated Press contributed to this report.