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Deschamps backs French world champions for Germany clash

AFP | Didier Deschamps is feted by his players after France's World Cup victory in Moscow on July 15, 2018.

France coach Didier Deschamps named a largely unchanged squad for Les Bleus’ first matches since their World Cup triumph, replacing only the injured goalkeeper Steve Mandanda with Bordeaux’s Benoît Costil.

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Barely six weeks after their triumphant World Cup campaign in Russia, France face Germany on September 6 and the Netherlands three days later as part of the Nations League competition that has replaced the traditional friendlies.

Deschamps showed he had no intention of punishing Tottenham goalkeeper Hugo Lloris for his recent drink driving charge, giving the 31-year-old World Cup winner his full backing.

"I've spoken with him, he realises his mistake and he's sorry for it," Deschamps told reporters on Thursday.

"He knows only too well that it shouldn't happen, but it happened and it's not going to change what I think about him and the Hugo Lloris that I've always known," he added

More surprising was his decision to recall Marseille defender Adil Rami, who announced his international retirement on the night of France's World Cup victory.

Deschamps said he was still counting on the 32-year-old defender, who was the only player in France’s World Cup squad to have stayed on the bench throughout the tournament.

"I've talked to him about it and this first get-together will give us the chance to discuss things in more detail," said Deschamps. "Anyway, he was very happy about the call-up and didn't hesitate one second."

Deschamps' squad will feature all of the players who starred in the July 15 final against Croatia, where Antoine Griezmann gave Les Bleus a 2-1 lead from the penalty spot before further goals from Paul Pogba and Kylian Mbappé sealed their second World Cup victory 20 years after triumphing at home.

Griezmann's performances throughout the tournament have put him in contention for this year's Ballon d'Or – even though the Atletico Madrid forward was noticeably omitted by teammate Mbappé when he was asked to name his candidates during a recent interview.

Deschamps added: "I don't know whether Kylian really believes that [Griezmann is not in contention], but I don't think so […] Obviously Antoine is among the players likely to be awarded the Ballon d'Or."

France's 23-man squad to face Germany and the Netherlands:

Goalkeepers: Hugo Lloris (Tottenham/ENG), Benoit Costil (Bordeaux), Alphonse Areola (Paris Saint-Germanin)

Defenders: Lucas Hernandez (Atletico Madrid/ESP), Presnel Kimpembe (Paris Saint Germain), Benjamin Mendy (Manchester City/ENG), Benjamin Pavard (Stuttgart/GER), Adil Rami (Marseille), Djibril Sidibe (Monaco), Samuel Umtiti (Barcelona/ESP), Raphael Varane (Real Madrid/ESP)

Midfielders: N'Golo Kante (Chelsea/ENG), Blaise Matuidi (Juventus/ITA), Steven N'Zonzi (Roma/ITA), Paul Pogba (Manchester United/ENG), Corentin Tolisso (Bayern Munich/GER)

Forwards: Ousmane Dembele (Barcelona/ESP), Nabil Fekir (Lyon), Olivier Giroud (Chelsea/ENG), Antoine Griezmann (Atletico Madrid/ESP), Thomas Lemar (Atletico Madrid/ESP), Kylian Mbappé (Paris Saint-Germain), Florian Thauvin (Marseille)

(FRANCE 24 with AFP)

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