By Chris Wright
France coach Raymond Domenech has named his 30-man provisional squad for this summer’s World Cup.
The Frenchman’s first curve-ball was to name a 30-man draft rather than the 23-man final cut he was expected to deliver – meaning that seven players are still to be trimmed from the squad before the deadline on June 1st.
Domenech’s second surprise was to not include Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema in the squad, despite naming nine other forwards.
Other notable omissions from the squad include that of Premier League-based midfield pair Samir Nasri and Patrick Vieira (of Arsenal and Man City respectively) who failed to make the cut, whilst a couple of surprise wild-card entries (such as Stade Rennais’ teenage midfielder Yann M’Vila) are set to earn their first international caps in South Africa.
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The list in full…
Goalkeepers: Hugo Lloris (Lyon), Steven Mandanda (Marseille), Cedric Carrasso (Bordeaux), Mikael Landreau (Lille).
Defenders: Patrice Evra (Man Utd) Eric Abidal (Barcelona), William Gallas, Gael Clichy, Bacary Sagna (Arsenal), Adil Rami (Lille), Sebastien Squillaci (Sevilla), Anthony Reveillere (Lyon), Marc Planus (Bordeaux).
Midfielders: Yoann Gourcuff, Alou Diarra (Bordeaux), Lassana Diarra (Real Madrid), Abou Diaby (Arsenal), Florent Malouda (Chelsea), Yann M’Vila (Rennes), Franck Ribery (Bayern Munich), Jeremy Toulalan (Lyon).
Forwards: Thierry Henry (Barcelona), Nicolas Anelka (Chelsea), Hatem Ben Arfa, Mathieu Valbuena (Marseille), Jimmy Briand (Rennes), Andre-Pierre Gignac (Toulouse), Sidney Govou (Lyon), Djibril Cisse (Panathinaikos).