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Deschamps: France still not over Euro final loss

France
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 By Mark Rodden

Porto's Giannelli Imbula yet to decide between Belgium and France

Giannelli Imbula remains eligible for both Belgium and France.

Porto midfielder Giannelli Imbula has denied reports that he had applied for Belgian nationality but did not rule out eventually representing the country of his birth at international level.

Imbula, 23, was born near Brussels to Congolese parents but grew up in France and is a former France under-21 international.

The defensive midfielder joined Porto from Marseille for €20 million in the summer and featured in the Portuguese side's recent victory over Chelsea in the Champions League.

L'Equipe reported on Tuesday that Belgium coach Marc Wilmots had met Imbula's father at that game and that the player had since decided to declare for Belgium.

Speaking on French radio station RMC on Tuesday evening, however, Imbula rejected the substance of the article.

"I deny this news," he said. "I haven't taken any steps with regard to getting Belgian nationality. I'm only concentrating on Porto."

In January, the former Guingamp player told a news conference that he was "flattered" that Belgium might be interested in him but said that his aim was to play for France at senior level.

On Tuesday, Imbula maintained that he had not made a decision about which country he would represent if the chance came and said he is not preoccupied about Wilmots or France coach Didier Deschamps getting in contact.

"I'm not necessarily waiting on a call," he told RMC. "My priority is Porto. If I do things well, I'll have the bonus of being called up by one of the two teams.

"But yes, the one who calls me will certainly have an influence on my future decision."

For his part, Wilmots confirmed on Tuesday evening that he had met Imbula's father by chance.

"I spoke with his father," the Belgium coach told a news conference ahead of Belgium's Euro 2016 qualifier in Andorra on Saturday.

"I went to see the Porto-Chelsea game and I met the father for the first time. I said, 'Well then, has your son decided? What does he want to do?'

"And he said, 'For the moment he hasn't decided.'"

Wilmots said that he had never met Imbula, whom he described as an "interesting player."

However, the former Schalke midfielder said the issue would not concern him until the Porto midfielder had completed the complicated administrative process of applying for Belgian citizenship.

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