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Sport

French coach unveils new 22-man squad

Video by FRANCE 24

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2010-08-05

New France football coach Laurent Blanc has unveiled a new squad of fresh faces for a friendly match against Norway in August. As promised, Blanc left out players who were part of this year's controversial World Cup team.

AFP - France coach Laurent Blanc has kept a promise to leave 23 World Cup upstarts at home as he recalled Karim Benzema, Samir Nasri and Philippe Mexes to a 22-man squad in time for a friendly against Norway.
  
Blanc took over from Raymond Domenech after France's controversial World Cup campaign, which ended in a premature first round exit following the players' controversial decision to strike.
  
All 23 players faced sporting sanctions for their actions and former Bordeaux coach Blanc has, as expected, left the entire squad at home.

  
Benzema, Nasri and Mexes were left out of Domenech's squad for the ill-fated trip to South Africa in June, but return to headline a squad brimming with fresh faces and relatively unknown names on the international stage.
  
Lassana Diarra of Real Madrid was a regular under Domenech but was ruled out of the World Cup at the last minute with illness.
  
Diarra makes his return to midfield alongside the likes of Arsenal's Nasri and Charles Nzogbia, who plays for Wigan.
  
Marseille striker Hatem Ben Arfa, who narrowly missed out on selection for the World Cup, also returns alongside Real Madrid's Benzema.
  
Other than the return of Benzema, Nasri and Roma defender Mexes, the squad contains 13 players who could make their France debut. Seven of that 13 have never before been called up.
  
The seven entirely new France faces are defenders Mathieu Debuchy, Mamadou Sakho, and Benoit Tremoulinas, midfielders Yohan Cabaye, Blaise Matuidi, and Nzogbia and striker Jeremy Menez.
  
France came under fire during and after the World Cup after the players agreed, en masse, to strike during a training session to protest Domenech's decision to send Chelsea striker Nicolas Anelka home.
  
Anelka had launched a foul-mouthed volley at the coach, and had the misfortune of seeing his words splashed across the front pages of France's leading sports daily L'Equipe the next day.
  
France play Norway in a friendly away on Wednesday August 11, after which Blanc will be expected to gradually reinstall at least some of the squad whose disastrous World Cup campaign caused huge uproar in France.
  
Blanc's first real challenge as coach will be to steer France successfully through qualifying for the 2012 European Championships. The first match is against Belarus on September 3.
  

  
Squad:
  
Goalkeepers: Nicolas Douchez (Rennes), Stephane Ruffier (Monaco)
  
Defenders: Aly Cissokho (Lyon), Mathieu Debuchy (Lille), Rod Fanni (Rennes), Philippe Mexes (Roma/ITA), Adil Rami (Lille), Mamadou Sakho (Paris St Germain), Benoit Tremoulinas (Bordeaux)
  
Midfielders: Yohan Cabaye (Lille), Lassana Diarra (Real Madrid/ESP), Blaise Matuidi (Saint-Etienne), Yann Mvila (Rennes), Samir Nasri (Arsenal/ENG), Charles Nzogbia (Wigan/ENG), Moussa Sissoko (Toulouse)
  
Strikers: Hatem Ben Arfa (Marseille), Karim Benzema (Real Madrid/ESP), Jimmy Briand (Lyon), Guillaume Hoarau (Paris St Germain), Jeremy Menez (Roma/ITA), Loic Remy (Nice)
 

Date created : 2010-08-05

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