Anthony Martial and Alexandre Lacazette have missed out.
Anthony Martial and Alexandre Lacazette have missed out.

France enjoys embarrassment of riches for World Cup

MANCHESTER United forward Anthony Martial and Arsenal striker Alexandre Lacazette have both been left out of France's World Cup squad.

The Premier League pair were not in the 23-man group announced by coach Didier Deschamps to face Australia in their first match on June 16. Instead they were included on an 11-strong standby list for the tournament in Russia.

Marseille's former West Ham midfielder Dimitri Payet has also been omitted.

He went off injured in Marseille's Europa League final loss to Atletico Madrid on Wednesday night.

"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 said.

Dimitri Payet isn’t going to Russia.
Dimitri Payet isn’t going to Russia.

"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."

The biggest surprise came with the inclusion of Sevilla's holding midfielder Steven Nzonzi, who was preferred to Paris Saint-Germain's Adrien Rabiot. The 29-year-old Nzonzi has just two caps.

"Steven has technical skills and an imposing height. He plays in the same fashion as N'golo Kante," Deschamps said.

"And Adrien's performances with France are not at the same level as those he delivered with PSG this season."

Portugal cleans house

Nearly half of Portugal's triumphant Euro 2016 winning squad will miss the World Cup, with national coach Fernando Santos making some difficult choices in naming his final 23 for Russia.

Centre forward Eder, who scored the winning goal in the Euro 2016 final against France, was among 10 players from that squad who were omitted from Santos's list.

Other unlucky players included midfielders Andre Gomes and Renato Sanches, forward Nani and defender Eliseu.

Cristiano Ronaldo, Portugal's all-time leading scorer and most capped player, headed the list for the European champions, who face Spain, Morocco and Iran in a tricky first-round group.

Other stalwarts included goalkeeper Rui Patricio, central defenders Pepe (35) and Bruno Alves (36), midfielders William Carvalho and Joao Moutinho and flamboyant forward Ricardo Quaresma.

"As a professional, I have to make decisions and I know that I'm not going to please everyone," Santos said.

"But, on the personal side, it hurts me to leave out players who took part in the European championship, and others who took part in the qualifiers and helped the team get this far."

Sadio Mane headlines a strong-looking Senegal squad.
Sadio Mane headlines a strong-looking Senegal squad.

Senegal, Morocco name squads

 

Liverpool forward Sadio Mane will lead Senegal's hopes at their second World Cup appearance in Russia next month.

Mane will be expected to provide the majority of the team's attacking threat along with Monaco striker Keita Balde.

West Ham midfielder Cheikhou Kouyate and Everton's Idrissa Gueye were also included.

The 26-year-old Mane has scored 19 goals in all competitions this season for Liverpool, helping Jurgen Klopp's side finish fourth in the Premier League and reach next week's Champions League final against Real Madrid.

Meanwhile, fiery Juventus defender Medhi Benatia took centre stage as Morocco coach Herve Renard named his 23-man squad.

Benatia, fresh from helping Juventus to the Italian league-cup double, is one of 19 players in the squad who ply their trade in Europe.

He seems set to be not too far from the headlines in Russia after a dramatic campaign in Italy, where club coach Massimiliano Allegri told him to "shut up" during a match.


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