Samir Nasri misses out on France squad
France coach Didier Deschamps has left out Samir Nasri and Eric Abidal after naming his 23-man squad for the World Cup on Tuesday.
Nasri, 26, and Abidal, 34, both played a part in helping Les Bleus clinch their place in Brazil, but will not attend the tournament after Deschamps announced his selection on France's main evening news programme.
The former France captain explained Nasri's inability to reproduce the excellent form he has shown in Manchester City's Premier League-winning season for the national team, and the midfielder's attitude when he is left out of the side had led to him missing out on a second successive World Cup.
He said: "We're talking about a player of great quality. But Samir has had some performances in the French national team that aren't at the same level of those with City. He's an important player at City, which is not the case in the national team.
"He has said himself that he's not happy when he's a substitute. You can see that, and feel that within the squad. That's the three reasons why I didn't pick him."
Deschamps' reasoning for leaving out Abidal was different. Recalled by Deschamps to lend his experience to younger players within the squad, Abidal initially appeared certain to take part in his third World Cup finals.
However, after a poor display in France's playoff first-leg defeat in Ukraine in November, Abidal was left out of the second leg, in which Les Bleus overturned their 2-0 deficit in large part thanks to two goals from fellow centre-back Mamadou Sakho.
When his form dipped for Ligue 1 side Monaco in the second half of the campaign, Abidal's fate was sealed. Instead, Deschamps opted for Porto's Eliaquim Mangala with a view to giving the 23-year-old experience of a major tournament ahead of Euro 2016, which will be staged in France.
He said: "All decisions are difficult, and it was even more difficult with Abi. He was in full form last year. I told him that if I had brought him back it was to play an important role, to be in the starting XI. His displays of late were not as good as those at the start of the season. I prefer to have a younger player to prepare for the experiences that will come after the World Cup."
Deschamps had been expected to announce a provisional 30-man squad before cutting seven names from his list ahead of the final deadline on June 2. Instead, he opted to announce his final selection as well as seven reserves, who will train with the squad until May 28, the day after France's first warm-up friendly against Norway.
"I have always been convinced that the best solution was to give a list of 23 from the start to create team spirit, not insecurity. When you have 30, you have 15 who are worried that they might not stay," Deschamps explained before outlining his hopes for the squad in South America.
"I don't dream, I'm realistic, which doesn't stop me being ambitious. After the defeat in Ukraine, many didn't see us going to Brazil. Now they see us winning it. The most important thing is June 15, the first game against Honduras. We have to win it."
Goalkeepers: Hugo Lloris (Tottenham Hotspur), Steve Mandanda (Marseille), Mickael Landreau (Bastia)
Defenders: Bacary Sagna (Arsenal), Laurent Koscielny (Arsenal), Mamadou Sakho (Liverpool), Raphael Varane (Real Madrid), Eliaquim Mangala (Porto), Mathieu Debuchy (Newcastle United), Patrice Evra (Manchester United), Lucas Digne (Paris Saint-Germain),
Midfielders: Rio Mavuba (Lille), Mathieu Valbuena (Marseille), Yohan Cabaye (Paris Saint-Germain), Blaise Matuidi (Paris Saint-Germain), Paul Pogba (Juventus), Franck Ribery (Bayern Munich), Clement Grenier (Lyon), Moussa Sissoko (Newcastle United)
Forwards: Olivier Giroud (Arsenal), Karim Benzema (Real Madrid), Antoine Griezmann (Real Sociedad), Loic Remy (Newcastle United)
Stephane Ruffier (Saint-Etienne), Maxime Gonalons (Lyon), Remy Cabella (Montpellier), Alexandre Lacazette (Lyon), Loic Perrin (Saint-Etienne), Morgan Schneiderlin (Southampton), Benoit Tremoulinas (Dynamo Kiev/Saint-Etienne)