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Page last updated at 10:54 GMT, Monday, 17 May 2010 11:54 UK

France keep uncapped pair in trimmed World Cup squad

World Cup guide: France

World Cup guide - France

France have retained uncapped pair Mathieu Valbuena and Marc Planus in their World Cup squad after trimming it from 30 to 24 players on Monday.

Forward Valbuena has been rewarded for his good form in helping Marseille win the Ligue 1 title.

Bordeaux defender Planus was left in as doubts remain whether Arsenal centre-back Williams Gallas will be fit.

Coach Raymond Domenech has until 1 June to name his 23-man squad and is hoping Gallas will overcome a calf injury.

Goalkeeper Mickael Landreau, defenders Rod Fanni and Adil Rami, midfielder Yann M'Vila and forwards Hatem Ben Arfa and Jimmy Briand were the players dropped from the squad.

France will face hosts South Africa as well as Mexico and Uruguay in Group A.

Arsenal's Samir Nasri, Manchester City's Patrick Vieira and Real Madrid forward Karim Benzema were left out out of France's 30-man squad.


Under-fire Domenech had promised to name his final 23-man list straight away - even though Fifa's deadline is not until 1 June - but changed his mind at the last minute.

He admitted he was hopeful the 33-year-old ex-skipper Vieira, who has 107 caps and was a member of the sides that won the 1998 World Cup in 1998 and Euro 2000, would convince him worthy of a place.

"We have been following Pat for a while, hoping he could make it to the World Cup," Domenech said. "It's a difficult moment. We tried, he did too. It's tough but there comes a time when you need to make a decision".

A prominent member of the France side for a decade, Vieira last played for his country in June 2009.

His absence means that for the first time since winning the World Cup on home soil, France will play a major tournament without any player from the team that stunned Brazil 3-0 in the 1998 final at the Stade de France.

"It was a challenge for me but I will not be able to play one last major tournament for France," Vieira told Canal Plus television. "He [Domenech] made a choice on sporting grounds, I accept that."

Thierry Henry, now the France captain, was in the 1998 squad but did not play in the final.

He has appeared mostly as a substitute for Barcelona this season, but remains a key figure for France and it was his infamous handball that ensured their qualification at the expense of the Republic of Ireland.

Gallas is joined in the squad by his Arsenal team-mates Gael Clichy, Abou Diaby and Bacary Sagna.

Also in are Manchester United's Patrice Evra and Chelsea pair Florent Malouda and Nicolas Anelka.

Domenech had reassuring words for Benzema, who has endured a frustrating first year at the Bernabeu.

"Karim has talent and he will come back," Domenech said. "He's had a difficult season with Real and we needed players who were fresh and hungry."

Former Liverpool striker Djibril Cisse, who has scored 29 goals for Greek champions Panathinaikos, received his first call-up since being cut from the squad prior to the 2008 European Championship.

France squad:

Goalkeepers: Hugo Lloris (Olympique Lyon), Steve Mandanda(Olympique Marseille), Cedric Carrasso (Girondins Bordeaux)

Defenders: Bacary Sagna (Arsenal), Patrice Evra (Manchester United), William Gallas (Arsenal), Eric Abidal (Barcelona), Sebastien Squillaci (Sevilla), Marc Planus (Girondins Bordeaux), Gael Clichy(Arsenal), Anthony Reveillere (Olympique Lyon)

Midfielders: Lassana Diarra (Real Madrid), Alou Diarra(Girondins Bordeaux), Jeremy Toulalan (Olympique Lyon), Florent Malouda (Chelsea), Yoann Gourcuff (Girondins Bordeaux), Abou Diaby (Arsenal)

Forwards: Thierry Henry (Barcelona), Nicolas Anelka (Chelsea), Andre-Pierre Gignac (Toulouse), Franck Ribery (Bayern Munich), Sidney Govou (Olympique Lyon), Djibril Cisse (Panathinaikos), Mathieu Valbuena (Olympique Marseille)

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see also
Wenger rejects Domenech criticism
03 Apr 10 |  Arsenal
Irish 'cheated' by Henry handball
19 Nov 09 |  Internationals
Captain Vieira backed by Domenech
13 Feb 10 |  World Cup 2010
Incredible Sulk has the last laugh
17 Nov 09 |  Football
Domenech to stay as France coach
15 Oct 08 |  Internationals

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