Thu, May 15, 2014 - Page 18 News List

Nasri, Abidal not included in France World Cup squad

Reuters, PARIS

Samir Nasri, who was instrumental in helping Manchester City to win the Premier League title, was left out of France’s World Cup squad when Didier Deschamps unveiled a 23-man list plus seven standby players on Tuesday.

Nasri, who has a reputation of being a troublemaker and was disappointing in Les Bleus’ playoff first-leg against Ukraine last year, was a notable absentee along with defender Eric Abidal.

Abidal, who has been used sparingly by Claudio Ranieri at Monaco during the second part of the season, has been deemed not good enough to travel to Brazil.

French radio RMC reported that Abidal, 34, is retiring from international soccer.

“Samir is an important player for Manchester City, but he has not performed that well with France,” Deschamps told French TV channel TF1. “He is a starter at City, which is not the case with France and he has made clear that he is not happy when he is not [a starter], and I can tell you it can be felt in the squad. I built the best squad, I did not pick the 23 best French players.”

Nasri was banned for three matches after launching a foul-mouthed rant at a reporter following France’s quarter-final defeat by Spain at Euro 2012.

Also left out was City fullback Gael Clichy, who was at the 2010 World Cup and Euro 2012, but Deschamps instead picked the talented yet inexperienced Lucas Digne of Paris Saint-Germain.

In Brazil, Deschamps is likely to rely on Bayern Munich winger Franck Ribery, who with Mathieu Valbuena should support Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema.

In the midfield PSG duo Yohan Cabaye and Blaise Matuidi should play alongside Paul Pogba of Juventus, while Deschamps is expected to pick his center backs from Raphael Varane, Mamadou Sakho and Laurent Koscielny.

The seven standby players, including Southampton’s Morgan Schneiderlin, are to stay with the squad until May 28.

France are set to play neighbors Switzerland, as well as Ecuador and Honduras in Group E.

They have friendly matches scheduled against Norway (May 27), Paraguay (June 1) and Jamaica (June 8) ahead of the June 12 to July 13 tournament.

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