Patrice Evra and Franck Ribery have been called up for international duty for the first time since their infamous World Cup strike, despite the opposition of France's sport minister.
AFP - Two of France's World Cup rebels Patrice Evra and Franck Ribery were called up for international duty on Thursday for the first time since a troubled 2010 World Cup saw them hit with sanctions.
Coach Laurent Blanc named former captain Evra and Bayern Munich winger Ribery in the 23-man squad to face Luxembourg away in a Euro 2012 qualifier on March 25 and a friendly with Croatia in Paris four days later.
Highly-rated left-back Evra has now served a five-match ban for his leading role in a World Cup training ground strike.
Senior squad member Ribery picked up a three-match ban for his role in the strike, but his absence was prolonged by injury.
Blanc has described Ribery as "indispensable", while Manchester United left-back Evra had been in competition for a starting place with Barcelona's Eric Abidal, who was due to undergo surgery on a liver tumour on Thursday.
Prior to Blanc naming his squad, French sports minister Chantal Jouanno said she would be disappointed to see the World Cup rebels recalled for international duty.
Evra, Ribery, and Lyon midfielder Jeremy Toulalan were given bans of five matches, three matches and one match respectively for a training ground boycott in protest at the sending home of striker Nicolas Anelka from the World Cup.
Anelka was hit with an 18-match sanction for having insulted then coach Raymond Domenech, who was himself fired for his part in France's calamitous campaign in South Africa, which ended in a first-round exit.
Goalkeepers: Hugo Lloris (Lyon), Steve Mandanda (Marseille), Cedric Carrasso (Bordeaux)
Defenders: Bakary Sagna (Arsenal/ENG), Adil Rami (Lille), Philippe Mexes (Roma/ITA), Mamadou Sakho (Paris Saint-Germain), Gael Clichy (Arsenal/ENG), Patrice Evra (Manchester United/ENG), Anthony Reveillere (Lyon), Laurent Koscielny (Arsenal/ENG)
Midfielders: Alou Diarra (Bordeaux), Yann Mvila (Rennes), Florent Malouda (Chelsea/ENG), Yoann Gourcuff (Lyon), Abou Diaby (Arsenal/ENG), Jeremy Menez (Roma/ITA), Samir Nasri (Arsenal/ENG), Franck Ribery (Bayern Munich/GER)
Forwards: Kevin Gameiro (Lorient), Guillaume Hoarau (Paris Saint-Germain), Karim Benzema (Real Madrid/ESP), Loic Remy (Marseille)
Date created : 2011-03-17