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Nasri and Abidal left out of France squad
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 15 - 05 - 2014

PARIS — Samir Nasri, who was instrumental in helping Manchester City to win the Premier League title, was left out of France's World Cup squad when Didier Deschamps unveiled a 23-man list plus seven standby players Tuesday.
Nasri, who has a reputation of being a troublemaker and was disappointing in Les Bleus's playoff first leg against Ukraine last year, was a notable absentee along with defender Eric Abidal.
Abidal, who has been used sparingly by Claudio Ranieri at Monaco during the second part of the season, has been deemed not good enough to travel to Brazil.
French radio RMC reported that Abidal, 34, is retiring from international football.
“Samir is an important player for Manchester City but he has not performed that well with France,” Deschamps told French TV channel TF1.
“He is a starter at City, which is not the case with France and he has made clear that he is not happy when he is not (a starter), and I can tell you it can be felt in the squad.
“I built the best squad, I did not pick the 23 best French players.” Nasri was banned for three matches after launching a foul-mouthed rant at a reporter following France's quarterfinal defeat by Spain at Euro 2012.
Also left out was City fullback Gael Clichy, who was at the 2010 World Cup and Euro 2012 but Deschamps instead picked the talented yet inexperienced Lucas Digne of Paris St Germain.
In Brazil, Deschamps will rely on Bayern Munich winger Franck Ribery, who with Mathieu Valbuena should support Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema.
In the midfield Paris St Germain duo Yohan Cabaye and Blaise Matuidi will be alongside Paul Pogba of Juventus while Deschamps is expected to pick his center backs between Raphael Varane, Mamadou Sakho and Laurent Koscielny. The seven standby players, which includes Southampton's Morgan Schneiderlin, will be with the squad until May 28.
France will play neighbors Switzerland, Ecuador and Honduras in Group E.
The squad:
Goalkeepers: Hugo Lloris (Tottenham Hotspur), Steve Mandanda (Olympique Marseille), Mickael Landreau (Bastia).
Defenders: Mathieu Debuchy (Newcastle United), Lucas Digne (Paris St Germain) Patrice Evra (Manchester United), Laurent Koscielny (Arsenal), Eliaquim Mangala (Porto), Bacary Sagna (Arsenal), Mamadou Sakho (Liverpool), Raphael Varane (Real Madrid).
Midfielders: Yohan Cabaye (Paris St Germain), Clement Grenier (Olympique Lyon), Blaise Matuidi (Paris St Germain), Rio Mavuba (Lille), Paul Pogba (Juventus), Moussa Sissoko (Newcastle United), Mathieu Valbuena (Olympique Marseille).
Forwards: Karim Benzema (Real Madrid), Olivier Giroud (Arsenal), Antoine Griezmann (Real Sociedad), Loic Remy (Newcaste United), Franck Ribery (Bayern Munich).
Standby players: Stephane Ruffier (Monaco), Loic Perrin (St Etienne), Maxime Gonalons (Olympique Lyon), Morgan Schneiderlin (Southampton), Benoit Tremoulinas (Dynamo Kiev), Alexandre Lacazette (Olympique Lyon), Remy Cabella (Montpellier). — Reuters


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