By: Reuters | Paris | Published: May 18, 2018 8:23:15 am
Marseille’s Dimitri Payet was injured during Europa League final clash against Atletico Madrid. (REUTERS)
France must cope without in-form Dimitri Payet at the World Cup after the forward was ruled out of due to injury on Thursday and Alexandre Lacazette was omitted from the squad. Arsenal striker Lacazette, who scored 14 goals in 32 Premier League appearances this season, features in a list of 11 players on stand-by should one of the 23 men selected by Deschamps get injured before the coach hands his list to FIFA on June 4, 10 days before the start of the tournament in Russia.
There is no such hope for Payet, however, as he sustained a muscle injury in Olympique de Marseille’s 3-0 defeat by Atletico Madrid in the Europa League final on Wednesday. “He was a serious candidate for a place in the 23 but for this kind of injury it’s usually three weeks of recovery,” Deschamps told reporters.
“And there is a risk of hurting yourself again with this kind of injury and I must give my final list to FIFA on June 4.” As expected, Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema is not in the squad after being snubbed since being involved in a sex tape-blackmail scandal in 2015.
“Players have repaid my faith and I put the group above everything,” Deschamps said.
Deschamps will rely on a strike force of Antoine Griezmann, who scored twice in the Europa League final, Chelsea’s Olivier Giroud and Paris St Germain forward Kylian Mbappe. Manchester United’s Anthony Martial is also on stand-by as Deschamps preferred Barcelona’s Ousmane Dembele.
“Like every time, some players will play, others will not play at all. The most important thing is the life of the group,” Deschamps said. Les Bleus, who take on Australia, Denmark and Peru in Group C, begin their training camp on May 23, with only Raphael Varane missing out on the start as he will play in the Champions League final for Real Madrid three days later.
The squad, without injured centre back Laurent Koscielny, lacks experience, with an average age of 26 and only nine players from the group who reached the Euro 2016 final. “There is less experience but there still is ambition,” said Deschamps, who surprisingly called up Sevilla midfielder Steven N’Zonzi and left out PSG’s Adrien Rabiot.
“He plays the same way as N’Golo Kante. Adrien (Rabiot) suffered from the competition with Pogba, Tolisso and Matuidi,” the coach said.
Goalkeepers: Alphone Areola (Paris St Germain), Hugo Lloris (Tottenham Hotspur), Steve Mandanda (Olympique de Marseille)
Defenders: Lucas Hernandez (Atletico Madrid), Presnel Kimpembe (Paris St Germain), Benjamin Pavard (VfB Stuttgart), Benjamin Mendy (Manchester City), Djibril Sidibe (Monaco), Adil Rami (Olympique de Marseille), Samuel Umtiti (Barcelona), Raphael Varane (Real Madrid)
Midfielders: Blaise Matuidi (Juventus), N’Golo Kante (Chelsea), Steven N’Zonzi (Sevilla), Paul Pogba (Manchester United), Corentin Tolisso (Bayern Munich)
Forwards: Olivier Giroud (Chelsea), Antoine Griezmann (Atletico Madrid), Kylian Mbappe (Paris St Germain), Thomas Lemar (Monaco), Nabil Fekir (Olympique Lyonnais), Florian Thauvin (Olympique de Marseille), Ousmane Dembele (Barcelona)
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