France: Raymond Domenech has named his France squad to host Romania on September 5 and travel to Serbia on September 9 for vital World Cup qualifying matches, but has elected to name a party of 23 players that does not include Inter’s Patrick Vieira.
Les Bleus, minus their captain, could only scramble to a 1-0 victory over the Faroe Islands earlier this month, but Vieira still seems to be paying the price for a disappointing performance against Nigeria back in June.
While the Inter midfielder will not travel, Domenech has chosen to hand recalls to Arsenal pair Abou Diaby and Gael Clichy, both of whom missed the encounter in the North Atlantic due to injury concerns.
Otherwise, the squad is very much as expected, with Thierry Henry of Barcelona also back involved after missing the previous qualifying match.
France’s position in the race to qualify for South Africa 2010 remains precarious, particularly with regard to automatic qualification. Les Bleus trail Serbia by five points, but have a game more than the Eastern European nation to play. They do, however, enjoy a four point gap to Lithuania, who have played a game more than them, so a spot in the play-offs looks the minimum les Bleus will achieve.
France squad to face Romania and Serbia
Goalkeepers: Carrasso (Bordeaux), Lloris (Lyon), Mandanda (Marseille).
Defenders: Abidal (Barcelona), Clichy (Arsenal), Escude (Sevilla), Evra (Manchester United), Fanni (Rennes), Gallas (Arsenal), Sagna (Arsenal), Squillaci (Sevilla).
Midfielders: A. Diarra (Bordeaux), L. Diarra (Real Madrid), Gourcuff (Bordeaux), Malouda (Chelsea), Ribery (Bayern Munich), Diaby (Arsenal), Toulalan (Lyon).
Strikers: Anelka (Chelsea), Benzema (Real Madrid), Gignac (Toulouse), Henry (Barcelona), Remy (Nice)