France lose Koscielny for World Cup ties

Paris (AFP) –


Didier Deschamps has called up Marseille central defender Adil Rami, who was a succesful last minute draft for Euro 2016, after Arsenal star Laurent Koscielny pulled out of two upcoming World Cup qualifiers.

In their final two qualifiers for Russia 2018, France play in Bulgaria on October 7 and then host Belarus three days later, knowing six points would qualify them for the finals.

Koscielny has pulled out complaining of chronic achilles pain, meaning a second defensive withdrawal after Manchester City's Benjamin Mendy's injury.

Manchetsr United midfielder Paul Pogba and Barcelona's Ousmane Dembala are also out with long-term injuries.

France top Group A with 18 points, one point ahead of Sweden, while the Netherlands are third on 13 ahead of Bulgaria (12), Belarus and Luxembourg (both 5).

The Group winner goes to the finals whilst the runners-up face a play off.

France squad

Goalkeepers: Alphonse Areola (Paris SG), Hugo Lloris (Tottenham/ENG), Steve Mandanda (Marseille)

Defenders: Lucas Digne (Barcelona/ESP), Christophe Jallet (Nice), Presnel Kimpembe (Paris SG), Adil Rami (Marseille), Layvin Kurzawa (Paris SG), Djibril Sidibe (Monaco), Samuel Umtiti (Barcelona/ESP), Raphael Varane (Real Madrid/ESP)

Midfielders: N'Golo Kante (Chelsea/ENG), Blaise Matuidi (Juventus/ITA), Adrien Rabiot (Paris SG), Moussa Sissoko (Tottenham/ENG), Corentin Tolisso (Bayern Munich/GER)

Forwards: Kingsley Coman (Bayern Munich/GER), Olivier Giroud (Arsenal/ENG), Antoine Griezmann (Atletico Madrid/ESP), Alexandre Lacazette (Arsenal/ENG), Thomas Lemar (Monaco), Kylian Mbappe (Paris SG), Dimitri Payet (Marseille), Florian Thauvin (Marseille)