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Apr 17, 2014

Deschamps not afraid to overlook stars

Archie Gemmill scored Scotland's third goal against Holland in their Group D clash. It was considered one of the great goals of the 1978 FIFA World Cup.

France coach Didier Deschamps has told BFM TV he would be willing to leave out some of the country’s best players if it gives his team a better chance at the World Cup.

Deschamps, 45, has until May 13 to select 30 players for this summer’s tournament in Brazil, a list which must be whittled down to a 23-man squad by June 2.

Manchester City midfielder Samir Nasri was conspicuous by his absence for France’s last game and Deschamps said he would have no problem omitting some big names for the World Cup itself.

“This is not a squad for a friendly match,” the former Marseille manager said. “Like every manager, I’m not here to take the 23 best French players in each position but to make a squad that seems to me the most capable of going as far as possible in the competition.

“There are players who are going to start matches, others who aren’t going to play in this World Cup and others who are going to play very little.

“Those who aren’t playing don’t need to be happy with their situation but you can’t have them going against those who do play and against the collective interest.

“I’m also looking ahead to what awaits us, such as Euro 2016.”

Deschamps said that Nasri was one of “around 50” players he was considering. However, he hinted that what happened in the 2010 World Cup -- when French players infamously staged a training-ground boycott -- was still weighing too heavily on Monaco midfielder Jeremy Toulalan.

He said: “I had long discussions with Jeremy. I’m not going to go into details. But Jeremy is very marked and no doubt too marked by what happened.

“Will he not be on the list? I didn’t say that. Time will do its work. I know what he thinks and he knows what I think too.”

Deschamps, who captained France to World Cup glory in 1998, said that the country could not be considered one of the favourites to win the competition.

He added: “The last time that France won a [group] match in the World Cup was in 2006 against Togo. We’re no longer one of the best teams in Europe or the world.

“There are six or seven teams who are starting the competition to win it. That’s not our position.”

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