Paris, May 18: Marseille playmaker Dimitri Payet was not included in France’s 23-man squad for the 2018 FIFA World Cup named by head coach Didier Deschamps.
Payet suffered a hamstring injury and had to be replaced in the first half of Wednesday’s Europa League final, where Marseille lost to Atletico Madrid 0-3.
Deschamps unveiled the 23-man squad plus 11 standby players in a programme aired on TF1 on Thursday evening.
Payet finally missed out his chance of shining in Russia, as Deschamps feared a risk of relapse of the injury despite a three-week recovery.
Without Payet, who played a key role at the 2016 Euro, France still can count on a group of attacking talent up front, spearheaded by Atletico star Antoine Griezmann.
Griezmann scored a brace in the Europa League final, and was unsurprisingly chosen for his favorable performance alongside with his striking partner Olivier Giroud.
The 19-year-old Kylian Mbappe, whose stunning performance over the past two seasons has drawn much attention from the world, is set to welcome his World Cup debut in Russia, while Arsenal forward Alexandre Lacazette had to settle in the standby list in case of injury of 23 chosen members.
Despite just two appearances with Les Bleus, Sevilla’s Steven N’Zonzi took up one spot in midfield ahead of Paris Saint-Germain’s Adrien Rabiot.
Back on defensive line, left-back Benjamin Mendy was called up although he featured in few games for Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City.
Laurent Koscielny was another French player set to miss out on World Cup following his Achilles injury. Samuel Umtiti, Raphael Varane and Adil Rami will be in contention for the center-half position.
France will kick off their World Cup campaign against Australia on June 16, before meeting Peru and Denmark in Group C.
Prior to their departure for Russia, France will take on Ireland, Italy and the United States in international friendlies.
Goalkeepers: Alphonse Areola (Paris Saint-Germain), Hugo Lloris (Tottenham Hotspur), Steve Mandanda (Marseille)
Defenders: Lucas Hernandez (Atletico Madrid), Presnel Kimpembe (Paris Saint-Germain), Benjamin Mendy (Manchester City), Benjamin Pavard (Stuttgart), Adil Rami (Marseille), Djibril Sidibe (Monaco), Samuel Umtiti (Barcelona), Raphael Varane (Real Madrid)
Midfielders: N’Golo Kante (Chelsea), Blaise Matuidi (Juventus), Steven N’Zonzi (Sevilla), Paul Pogba (Manchester United), Corentin Tolisso (Bayern Munich)
Forwards: Ousmane Dembele (Barcelona), Nabil Fekir (Lyon), Olivier Giroud (Chelsea), Antoine Griezmann (Atletico Madrid), Thomas Lemar (Monaco), Kylian Mbappe (Paris Saint-Germain), Florian Thauvin (Marseille).
Standby: Wissam Ben Yedder, Kingsley Coman, Benoit Costil, Mathieu Debuchy, Lucas Digne, Alexandre Lacazette, Anthony Martial, Adrien Rabiot, Mamadou Sakho, Moussa Sissoko, Kurt Zouma. IANS