News24

France call up 4 new caps

2008-03-20 21:13

Paris - France coach Raymond Domenech called up four new players and again left out Juventus striker David Trezeguet for two friendly matches next week against England and Mali.

Lyon midfielder Mathieu Bodmer, Stuttgart defender Mathieu Delpierre, Lille defender Adil Rami and Marseille midfielder Mathieu Valbuena were among 39 players for Wednesday's friendly against England and a "B" international the day before.

Trezeguet has not played for France since a 1-0 loss against Scotland in September 2007, although Domenech insists "the door is not closed" for him. He has 16 league goals this season.

It will be the last chance for Domenech to test out players ahead of naming his squad in May for the European Championship. France will be in Group C with Romania, the Netherlands and Italy.

He said the high number of players gives him "new options."

The 22-year-old Rami has played only 17 league games in his career, while the 26-year-old Delpierre won the Bundesliga title last season with Stuttgart.

"I wanted to broaden (the squad) completely," Domenech said on Thursday. "I wanted the maximum number of players to keep my options open and to cover potential injuries that may occur."

Bodmer, who capped an impressive performance against Bordeaux two weeks ago with a stunning goal in a 4-2 win, said he did not expect to be on the list.

"I think I have moved to another level," Bodmer said. "Things are going well at the moment."

Bayern Munich defender Willy Sagnol, who has an unspecified minor injury, phoned Domenech to say he would not be fit. But Chelsea striker Nicolas Anelka joins up despite missing Chelsea's last two matches because of a thigh strain.

Domenech has spoken with Trezeguet, who was largely ineffective against Scotland six months ago. Trezeguet, France's third all-time scorer with 34 goals, previously said he would not consider playing for the "B" team.

He knows his qualities

"I listened to his point if view. Playing for the 'B' team has no interest for him, and not for me either, since I know his qualities," Domenech said.

Trezeguet still has a chance to make the final squad for Euro 2008.

"It remains possible that I will call him up," Domenech said. "You always need goal scorers. Even though he is scoring less at the moment."

Trezeguet has more league goals this term than any other striker in the squad except Lyon's Karim Benzema, who has 17.

Gregory Coupet is France's No. 1 goalkeeper and will start against England, Domenech said.

Steve Mandanda's outstanding recent form for Marseille makes him a possible candidate to oust struggling Paris Saint-Germain goalkeeper Mickael Landreau as the team's second choice.

Domenech is looking forward to testing himself against Fabio Capello, England's Italian coach.

"He's a super coach and a good guy as well," Domenech said. "We have seen the tapes of his last matches, there is a real evolution in the team, a lot of hard work."

Domenech expects England to display typically English "rigor" and for Capello to add "an Italian-style solidity."

Former England captain David Beckham could make his 100th international appearance after being named in Capello's squad on Thursday.

Squad:

Goalkeepers: Gregory Coupet (Lyon), Sebastien Frey (Fiorentina), Mickael Landreau (Paris Saint-Germain), Steve Mandanda (Marseille)

Defenders: Eric Abidal (FC Barcelona), Jean-Alain Boumsong (Lyon), Francois Clerc (Lyon), Gael Clichy (Arsenal), Mathieu Delpierre (Stuttgart), Julien Escude (Sevilla), Patrice Evra (Manchester United), William Gallas (Arsenal), Gael Givet (Marseille), Philippe Mexes (AS Roma), Adil Rami (Lille), Bakary Sagna (Arsenal), Sebastien Squillaci (Lyon), Lilian Thuram (FC Barcelona)

Midfielders: Rio Mavuba (Lille), Mathieu Bodmer (Lyon), Alou Diarra (Bordeaux), Lassana Diarra (Portsmouth), Mathieu Flamini (Arsenal), Claude Makelele (Chelsea), Samir Nasri (Marseille), Jerome Rothen (Paris Saint-Germain), Jeremy Toulalan (Lyon), Patrick Vieira (Inter Milan)

Strikers: Nicolas Anelka (Chelsea), Hatem Ben Arfa (Lyon), Karim Benzema (Lyon), Jimmy Briand (Rennes), Djibril Cisse (Marseille), Sidney Govou (Lyon), Thierry Henry (FC Barcelona), Florent Malouda (Chelsea), Franck Ribery (Bayern Munich), Louis Saha (Manchester United), Mathieu Valbuena (Marseille)