Nasri out, Griezmann in for France
Manchester City duo Samir Nasri and Gael Clichy have missed out on a place in the France squad for the friendly with Netherlands on March 5 as Antoine Griezmann and Lucas Digne received their first call-ups.
Nasri recently returned to action for City and had said earlier this month that he was desperate to secure a place in Les Bleus’ World Cup squad this summer after failing to make the cut in 2010, but he will not feature in the warm-up match against the Dutch at the Stade de France next month.
Didier Deschamps has instead handed a chance to Real Sociedad’s Griezmann, who until last month was banned from representing his country after taking a taxi to a Parisian nightclub while on duty with France's under-21 side in November 2012.
Paris Saint-Germain left-back Digne, meanwhile, is preferred to Clichy, while Monaco duo Eric Abidal and Geoffrey Kondogbia and Marseille’s Florian Thauvin also missed out on a place in the squad.
Deschamps refused to discuss the players he had not selected during his news conference on Thursday but said Griezmann had deserved his selection.
“Antoine, although he occasionally plays in the centre, is someone who is effective down the flanks,” he said. “He can play on either side. He became available for selection again from Jan. 1 and has been very effective for his club since the beginning of the season.
“He is very interesting on the field -- a very mobile player who can move between three positions.”
He also reflected on the fact former Lille full-back Digne has had limited playing time of late at PSG but said: “I hope he is given more time on the pitch, but when he has played it has not stopped him being effective.”
Deschamps left the door open for others to break into his final selection for Brazil, saying: “This squad list is how I see it today. The final list will be named on June 2.”
France squad to face Netherlands on March 5
Goalkeepers: Hugo Lloris (Tottenham), Steve Mandanda (Marseille), Stephane Ruffier (St Etienne)
Defenders: Mathieu Debuchy (Newcastle), Patrice Evra (Manchester United), Laurent Koscielny (Arsenal), Bacary Sagna (Arsenal), Mamadou Sakho (Liverpool), Raphael Varane (Real Madrid), Eliaquim Mangala (Porto), Lucas Digne (PSG)
Midfielders: Blaise Matuidi (PSG), Paul Pogba (Juventus), Moussa Sissoko (Newcastle), Clement Grenier (Lyon), Yohan Cabaye (PSG), Rio Mavuba (Lille), Mathieu Valbuena (Marseille)
Attackers: Karim Benzema (Real Madrid), Olivier Giroud (Arsenal), Dimitri Payet (Marseille), Franck Ribery (Bayern Munich), Loic Remy (Newcastle), Antoine Griezmann (Real Sociedad)