Official: France Announce Euro Squad
France coach Didier Deschamps has announced a very strong 26-man Euro 2020 squad, with Karim Benzema returning, while a few 2018 FIFA World Cup winners missed out.
The 52-year-old, who guided Les Bleus to a World Cup triumph three years ago, has a host of talent to choose from.
However, the big talking point was the inclusion of Real Madrid superstar Benzema, who had not been with the national team since 2015.
The two men had fallen out over Benzema’s alleged involved in Mathieu Valbuena’s sex-tape scandal, with the Los Blancos forward – who is yet to be found guilty – accusing Deschamps of having “bowed to the pressure of a racist part of France” when snubbing him for his previous squads.
Benzema subsequently missed the 2018 World Cup triumph as well as his nation’s runners-up finish at the 2016 Euro, but was recently named the best French player in a foreign league by the French professional footballers’ union.
“I don’t have the ability, no one does, to go back and change anything. The most important thing is today and tomorrow. There have been important steps, one of them very important,” said Deschamps when asked about Benzema, as per ESPN.
“We have seen each other. We had a long discussion. After that I had a long reflection to come to this decision. I’m not going to reveal a word of the discussion, it’s only our business. I needed it, he needed it.
“I have already been confronted with difficult situations, I have always put my personal case aside. The French team does not belong to me, even if I am well aware that the responsibility I have is important because of the choices I have to make.”
Meanwhile, 2018 World Cup winners Nabil Fekir, Samuel Umtiti, Steven Nzonzi, Blaise Matuidi, Florian Thauvin, Benjamin Mendy, Aphonse Areola, Djibril Sidibe and Adil Rami were not selected.
France have so much talent in their ranks, that Dayot Upamecano, Anthony Martial, Tanguy Ndombele and Ferland Mendy were also overlooked.
Here is France’s squad in full:
Goalkeepers: Hugo Lloris (Tottenham Hotspur); Mike Maignan (Lille); Steve Mandanda (Marseille)
Defenders: Lucas Digne (Everton); Leo Dubois (Olympique Lyonnais); Lucas Hernandez (Bayern Munich); Presnel Kimpembe (Paris St Germain); Jules Kounde (Sevilla); Clement Lenglet (Barcelona); Benjamin Pavard (Bayern Munich); Raphael Varane (Real Madrid); Kurt Zouma (Chelsea)
Midfielders: N’golo Kante (Chelsea); Thomas Lemar (Atletico Madrid); Paul Pogba (Manchester United); Adrien Rabiot (Juventus); Moussa Sissoko (Tottenham Hotspur); Corentin Tolisso (Bayern Munich)
Forwards: Wissam Ben Yedder (Monaco); Karim Benzema (Real Madrid); Kingsley Coman (Bayern Munich); Ousmane Dembele (Barcelona); Olivier Giroud (Chelsea); Antoine Griezmann (Barcelona); Kylian Mbappe (Paris St Germain); Marcus Thuram (Borussia Monchengladbach)
France were drawn in Group F at the upcoming Euro, which is still know as Euro 2020 after the tournament was postponed last year but all marketing material had already been produced, alongside Portugal, Germany and Hungary.