Alexandre Lacazette and Anthony Martial were among the big-name players placed on a standby list in a France World Cup squad that includes Chelsea duo Olivier Giroud and N’Golo Kante.
France coach Didier Deschamps who captained the team to World Cup glory on home soil in 98′ was able to pick from an embarrassment of riches, as he bids to win the trophy for the second time.
Les Blues may have lost key players like Laurent Koscielny and the latest casualty Dimitri Payet to injury, but they have a large pool of players to select from and are equally considered as one of the tournament’s favourite.
However, the final selection raised few eyebrows when fans discovered that Manchester United’s Anthony Martial and Arsenal’s forward Alexander Lacazette were placed on standby role. Other significant absentees were Bayern Munich winger Kingsley Coman and London representatives Mamadou Sakho (Crystal Palace), Moussa Sissoko (Tottenham) and Kurt Zouma (Chelsea).
France’s 23 man squad for Russia includes Giroud, who moved to Chelsea in January after being warned his World Cup place was in doubt if he remained on the Gunners’ bench. The 31-year-old has impressed since his move across the capital, scoring five goals including winners against Liverpool in the League and Southampton in the F.A Cup semi-final.
France were placed in group C alongside Australia, Peru, and Denmark. They will kick start their campaign against Australia in Kazan on June 16.
France squad in full
Goalkeepers: Alphonse Areola (Paris Saint-Germain), Hugo Lloris (Tottenham), Steve Mandanda (Marseille)
Defenders: Lucas Hernandez (Atletico Madrid), Presnel Kimpembe (Paris Saint-Germain), Benjamin Mendy (Manchester City), Benjamin Pavard (VfB Stuttgart), Adil Rami (Marseille), Djibril Sidibe (Monaco), Samuel Umtiti (Barcelona), Raphael Varane (Real Madrid)
Midfielders: N’Golo Kante (Chelsea), Blaise Matuidi (Juventus), Steven N’Zonzi (Sevilla), Paul Pogba (Manchester United), Corentin Tolisso (Bayern Munich)
Attackers: Ousmane Dembele (Barcelona), Nabil Fekir (Lyon), Olivier Giroud (Chelsea), Antoine Griezmann (Atletico Madrid), Thomas Lemar (Monaco), Kylian Mbappe (Paris Saint-Germain), Florian Thauvin (Marseille)
Standby list: Wissam Ben Yedder (Sevilla), Kingsley Coman (Bayern Munich), Benoit Costil (Bordeaux), Mathieu Debuchy (Saint-Etienne), Lucas Digne (Barcelona), Alexandre Lacazette (Arsenal), Anthony Martial (Manchester United), Adrien Rabiot (Paris Saint-Germain), Mamadou Sakho (Crystal Palace), Moussa Sissoko (Tottenham), Kurt Zouma (Chelsea)