Benzema, Evra sit out training session

Benzema, Evra sit out training session

Published Jun. 7, 2012 1:00 a.m. ET

Striker Karim Benzema and Patrice Evra sat out France's first training session of the European Championship on Thursday.

Benzema aggravated his back on the flight to Ukraine, while Evra took a knock to his thigh in Tuesday's 4-0 win against Estonia, in which Benzema scored twice. They did the occasional stretch as they sat watching their teammates training for around one hour in a light-hearted atmosphere.

France is using Shakhtar Donetsk's lavish training complex during the tournament, but torrential rain forced them indoors on Thursday.

Central midfielder Alou Diarra, who is nursing a sore knee as he prepares to play against England on Monday, was also rested. All are expected to be available to face Roy Hodgson's side.


France also has other minor injuries to central midfielders Yann M'Vila (ankle) and Blaise Matuidi (hamstring), and goalkeeper Steve Mandanda (big toe).

M'Vila is Blanc's first choice ball-winner in midfield, but he sprained his ankle early on in the 2-0 win against Iceland seven days ago, and Blanc needs Diarra in his team to face what is likely to be a physical England side.

''We have three defensive midfielders and I only have Alou left. We have to look after him and hope nothing happens to him, because he is the only one who can play there at the moment,'' Blanc said Thursday. ''It's all well and good when you're good going forward, but you need someone who can play high up the field and win the ball back.''

Although M'Vila, Matuidi and Mandanda, who is No. 2 goalie behind Hugo Lloris, are unlikely to feature against England, Blanc is hopeful they will be ready to face Ukraine four days later.

''They are getting better every day,'' Blanc said. ''But for the moment they are not ready to play a game. But I think we're ahead of time.''