Benzema has no regrets

Karim Benzema (AFP)
Karim Benzema (AFP)
Cape Town - France striker Karim Benzema said Friday he has no regrets risking his World Cup place by playing for Real Madrid in their Champions League final triumph.

"It was not a mistake to play and I would do it again," Benzema, who only attended his first full team training with France on Wednesday, told Madrid daily Marca.

He insisted that he is ready for the World Cup where France start in Group E against Switzerland, Ecuador and Honduras.

The 26-year-old striker aggravated a groin strain playing in Real's 4-1 victory over city rivals Atletico Madrid on May 24.

"I was injured but the main thing is that I took part and helped the team," he told Marca.

Benzema said he feels the "pressure" of being France's lead striker.

"I am going to work to be the best. I feel good physically and mentally."

Benzema named Spain, World Cup hosts Brazil and Germany among the favourites to win the final on July 13.

He said France, rebuilding from a disastrous 2010 World Cup for which he wasn't selected, could still make an impact.

"It is not a favourite and that is normal. But we have a group of young players who have a big future."

He said France had been playing better since their narrow 3-2 aggregate playoff victory over Ukraine to reach the finals.

"We are going to think about qualifying from our group and after that advance match-by-match."

France's first match is on June 15 against Honduras.
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