France announce World Cup 2022 squad: Varane called up and Deschamps will revert to 4-2-3-1

France coach Didier Deschamps has insisted Raphael Varane, Presnel Kibbe and Karim Benzema will be fit enough to start at the World Cup after recent injuries as Les Bleus begin their trophy defense with a provisional 25-man squad .

The national coach, who announced his choices on TF1’s newscast on Wednesday night before holding a rambling press conference to explain his decisions, intends to change his tactical approach in Qatar and will revert to a back four, leaving a recent experiment. with a rear guard of three.

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Instinctively he would prefer to pick a party of 23, but he will take a bigger squad to Qatar with injury problems around so many of his players. Deschamps has previously insisted that all players traveling to a major tournament should play for their clubs in the build-up to the tournament, however, in the case of Varane in particular, he made an exception.

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This reflects the central midfielder’s status in the national team.

The 29-year-old has not featured since picking up a hamstring injury against Manchester United at Chelsea on October 22. Although he will not play for his club before joining the national team, there is hope that Varane will be able to train with his international teammates next week.

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Benzema has only played 27 minutes for Real Madrid since mid-October after picking up an ankle problem. There are concerns over the fitness of Kibebe, who has started a game for Paris Saint-Germain since September 10 and continues to be troubled by an Achilles complaint. Kimpembe hopes to train at PSG on Thursday and has targeted game time for Sunday’s Ligue 1 clash with Auxerre.

Benzema after winning the Ballon d’Or last month (Photo: FRANCK FIFE/AFP via Getty Images)

Liverpool centre-half Ibrahima Konate is back in the squad despite only just returning to the first team at club level following a knee problem.

AC Milan goalkeeper Mike Maignan has failed to recover from a calf problem – Rennes’ Steve Mandanda, 37, and West Ham United’s Alphonse Areoloa will serve as back-up to Hugo Lloris – while the decision to don’t pick Marseille’s Jonathan Clauss. and Aston Villa’s Lucas Digne reflects Deschamps’ decision to return from his recent 3-4-1-2 formation to the 4-2-3-1 that was successful in 2018.

“It will be four at the back,” Deschamps said. “We did a lot of analysis (of recent games) and I had a lot of discussions with my staff and players. The sentiments expressed influenced my decision. We did some really good things in that system (with three backs), but we struggled at times. We were often unbalanced, even if we turned some bad situations around. To win a contest, you have to be solid defensively.

“We will have to defend well, defend better, not at the expense of our attacking intent, but if I choose this formation, I feel we can do both. The system leads to different player choices. There are nine defenders in the squad – one more than usual.’

Asked about Konate’s inclusion, he added: “You don’t start at his age in a Liverpool team that was recently crowned European champions by mistake.”

Deschamps, who appeared flustered at his press conference, admitted picking this squad was “very easy” due to injury after being denied Paul Pogba and N’Golo Kante, whose midfield partnership was so crucial to secure the trophy in Russia four years ago. .

Much emphasis will be placed on Real Madrid midfielder Aurelien Tswameni, who has established himself as a starter in the absence of the more experienced duo. His teenage teammate Eduardo Kamavinga made the cut despite winning just one capital in the past two years.

“What counts against Eduardo is the lack of time, but he is at Real Madrid,” said Deschamps. “He only has internationals in front of him. And there’s always something going on when he’s on the field. He doesn’t do everything well, he prefers some positions to others, but it’s an asset to have his flexibility. Add to that a great state of mind, he has an infectious smile and is a great listener.”

Real Madrid

Camavinga with Ancelotti at Real Madrid (Photo: Helios de la Rubia/Real Madrid via Getty Images)

There is a call-up for Marseille’s Jordan Veretout, who has not played a minute for the national team in 2022, and team-mate Matteo Gueduzi, as well as promising Monaco midfielder Youssef Fofana. He formed a good partnership with Tchouameni at the Principality last season before the latter’s switch to Madrid in the summer.

“I have confidence in these players,” Deschamps said. “You know what the two absent players (Pogba and Kante) represent in terms of experience and leadership. Fortunately, in the various gatherings, these young players got playing time. He’s not going to give them the experience of Paul and NG, but I still have confidence in them.”

France’s challenge will be spearheaded by PSG’s Kylian Mbappe and Benzema. Veteran AC Milan striker Olivier Giroud, who is two goals shy of Thierry Henry’s national record of 51, has been selected for his third World Cup.

The players will report to the national training base in Clairefontaine, on the outskirts of Paris, at midday next Monday to begin their preparations. The French squad is due to travel to Doha on Wednesday morning, six days before the first group game, where they will be based at the Al-Messila complex on the outskirts of the capital. They will train for the first time at the Al-Sadd stadium, a 15-minute drive from the team hotel, on Thursday.

National teams must submit their final rosters to FIFA on Monday afternoon (November 14), but there is still room for changes to be made up to 24 hours before a team’s first match at the tournament if players succumb to injury. That means France have until November 21, 24 hours before their opening game against Australia, to make further changes.

Goalkeepers: Hugo Lloris (Tottenham), Alphonse Areola (West Ham), Steve Mandada (Rennes).

Defenders: Lucas Hernandez (Bayern Munich), Theo Hernandez (AC Milan), Presnel Kimpembe (PSG), Ibrahima Konate (Liverpool), Jules Kounde (Barcelona), Benjamin Pavard (Bayern Munich), William Saliba (Arsenal), Dayot Upamecano (Bayern Munich ). ), Raphael Varane (Manchester United).

Means: Eduardo Camavinga (Real Madrid), Youssouf Fofana (Monaco), Matteo Guendouzi (Marseille), Adrien Rabiot (Juventus), Aurelien Tchouameni (Real Madrid), Jordan Veretout (Marseille).

Front: Karim Benzema (Real Madrid), Kingsley Coman (Bayern Munich), Olivier Giroud (Milan), Ousmane Dembele (Barcelona), Kylian Mbappe (Paris Saint-Germain), Antoine Griezmann (Atletico Madrid), Christopher Nkunku (RB Leipzig).

(Photo: Lars Baron – FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)


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