Sakho picked to lead France

Mamadou Sakho (AFP)
Mamadou Sakho (AFP)

Paris - Liverpool defender Mamadou Sakho will captain France in Tuesday's World Cup warm-up friendly against Norway at the Stade de France with regular skipper Hugo Lloris rested, coach Didier Deschamps has said on Monday.

Deschamps also added that Saint-Etienne goalkeeper Stephane Ruffier, called into the squad to replace the injured Steve Mandanda, would start while suggesting Franck Ribery would play no part.

Deschamps said the decision to hand Sakho, 24, the armband for the first of France's three pre-World Cup friendlies was down to a combination of factors.

"It's a mix of things related to what he does on the field and what he also gives off the pitch.

"It's something natural about him, I don't want to restrict him, quite the opposite," explained Deschamps.

Sakho was one of the stars of Les Bleus' World Cup play-off victory over Ukraine in November, scoring twice in a 3-0 victory in Paris as France overturned a two-goal first-leg deficit to reach the finals in Brazil.

"From the moment I told you Mamadou will be captain that means Hugo Lloris will not be starting and that Ruffier be in the first XI," said Deschamps, who added that Bayern Munich winger Ribery was unlikely to feature.

"Franck's been suffering with a minor back problem for a few weeks. I don't want to take any risks."

France, who went out at the first hurdle in the 2010 World Cup finals, have been drawn in Group E in the finals with Switzerland, Honduras and Ecuador.

They begin their campaign on June 15 against Honduras in Porto Alegre.

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