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France need win after Belgium debacle

France
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 By PA Sport

Dimitri Payet and Mamadou Sakho omitted from France squad

ESPN FC's Mark Donaldson presents the top fantasy players from week 2 of the Premier League, where West Ham's Dimitri Payet secured top spot.
ESPNFC's Janusz Michallik provides the lowdown on West Ham's recruitment of France international midfielder Dimitri Payet from Marseille.
ESPN FC's Ross Dyer reacts to the news that PSG and Marseille are boycotting interviews with French TV channel Canal Plus.

Premier League pair Dimitri Payet and Mamadou Sakho have been left out of a France squad which features a first call-up for Monaco's Anthony Martial.

Martial is the one new face in coach Didier Deschamps' 23-man group for friendlies against Portugal in Lisbon on Sept. 4 and Serbia at Bordeaux's new stadium three days later.

He effectively takes the place of Payet, with Deschamps unimpressed by the former Marseille winger's showings since moving to West Ham this summer.

"I expect better, I expect...

Former Liverpool boss Gerard Houllier to headline AFC coaching seminar

Former France and Liverpool manager Gerard Houllier will share his insights at next month's AFC National Coaches Conference.

Former Liverpool and France national team boss Gerard Houllier will be the special guest when the first Asian Football Confederation (AFC) National Coaches Conference is held in Malaysia next month.

The three-day conference will attract all of Asia's national coaches and technical directors, including Australia's Ange Postecoglou, Japan's Vahid Halilhodzic, China's Alain Perrin, Singapore's Bernd Stange and Malaysia's Dollah Salleh.

Held between Aug. 18-20 in Kuala Lumpur, it's the brainchild of...

 By Chris Wright

Zinedine Zidane scores immense try in strange football/rugby hybrid match

Just as they did when they faced a Marseille XI two summers ago, Toulon rugby club staged another one of their bizarre rugby/football hybrid charity matches on Wednesday evening.

The opposition this time was provided by veterans of France's 1998 World Cup-winning side, with the likes of Zinedine Zidane, Didier Deschamps, Robert Pires and Claude Makelele all turning out for Les Bleus.

Indeed, Zidane proved that his mercurial talents aren't just limited to football when he carved through the Toulon...

ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

World Cup qualifying draw: Spain land Italy in group stages

ESPN FC's Alexis Nunes and Alejandro Moreno break down the CONCACAF and UEFA World Cup qualifying draws.
ESPN FC's Mark Donaldson and Steve Nicol break down Scotland's World Cup qualifying group, where they'll meet an old frenemy in England.
Sepp Blatter has arrived in Russia ahead of the preliminary 2018 World Cup draw.
The U.N.'s Special Adviser for Sport believes Blatter should receive recognition for the positive aspects of his tenure.

The draw for the preliminary stages of the 2018 World Cup has been taken with France taking on Netherlands, Spain and Italy drawn in the same group and England finding themselves placed with Scotland.

Germany will start defending their World Cup title in a six-team UEFA pool where the Czech Republic seems the biggest barrier to advancing as group winners.

"I'm happy that we won't play against France or Italy," said former German international and current team official Oliver Bierhoff.

Italy, the...

 By PA Sport

Furiani victims to be honoured

Bastia holds a moment of silence for victims of the Furiani disaster.

Victims of the Furiani disaster will be honoured by French football in an annual memorial, the country's Ministry for Sport has announced.

And should May 5, the date of the tragedy on Corsica, fall on a Saturday there will be no football matches played across France.

On Saturday May 5, 1992, as Bastia hosted Marseille in a Coupe de France semifinal at the Stade Armand Cesari -- known as the Furiani...