It’s here; it’s finally arrived. The Qatar World Cup is set to begin and as we await the first of the 64 games taking place across November and December, let’s take a closer look at the breaking news stories of the day.

News coming out of the French national team camp could prove catastrophic for Didier Deschamps’ side and no doubt a fair few World Cup bets, and it’s not the kind of news any fan of Les Bleus is going to want to hear just 24 hours out from the tournament kick-off.

Benzema Blow

Veteran Real Madrid forward and reigning Ballon d’Or winner Karim Benzema is out of the World Cup with the in-form striker having suffered a thigh injury that has ruled him out of action for several weeks.

Benzema, who led Real Madrid to a superb La Liga and Champions League double, missed the 2018 World Cup due to issues he had that ruled him out of selection, and he was no doubt looking forward to getting into World Cup action but instead, Deschamps is going to have to go about selecting his replacement.

The 34-year-old bagged 44 goals in all competitions last season and would have been a key member of the French set-up, but instead, Deschamps will have to make do with admittedly top-quality alternatives. 

After all, he can select from the likes of Kylian Mbappe, Antoine Griezmann and Oliver Giroud, as well as alternative options such as Ousmane Dembele, Kingsley Coman, Randal Kolo Muani (who came in for injured RB Leipzig’s Christopher Nkunu) and Marcus Thuram.

Benzema has made 97 appearances for the French national team, which is an astonishing number of caps for a player who missed almost six years of international football between 2015 and 2021.

There is talk of a potential replacement in the form of Man United’s Anthony Martial, and Deschamps has 24 hours to make the relevant change to his playing squad.

Will England Win the Jackpot?

It’s been revealed that England stars in Gareth Southgate’s 26-man squad will share a massive £35m prize pot if they successfully secure their first World Cup crown since 1966, which amounts to each player receiving half a million for their efforts.

National team coach Southgate stands to personally receive an additional £3 million, on top of his annual £6 million salary, if he guides the Three Lions to victory in Qatar. 

England start their World Cup campaign against Iran, followed by Group B matches with the United States and Wales. Southgate will be focused on securing the top spot so as to avoid a likely clash with the Netherlands in the Round of 16.

Lionel Messi Will Be Fit For Argentina Opener

There had been growing speculation that PSG star Lionel Messi may miss Argentina’s opener with Saudi Arabia, thereby angering anyone who had placed a bet on the former Barcelona man to win the Golden Boot, with the 35-year-old being a very tasty 10/1 with BoyleSports, but by all accounts, he’ll be just fine. 

Messi had been seen training alone ahead of the game, but he is set to be fighting fit, having suffered a minor injury two weeks ago while with his Ligue 1 side.

This will be Messi’s fifth and final World Cup finals and the last chance for the legendary player to pick up the one piece of silverware that has eluded him. 

He’s been in fine club form of late, racking up 12 goals and 14 assists in Ligue 1 and Champions League action, and he’ll be hoping to put the Saudi Arabian side to the sword ahead of slightly tougher encounters with Mexico and Poland in their group phase schedule.