Lacazette Back Into 26-Man France Squad, Benzema Still Ruled Out
Lyon forward Alexandre Lacazette made a comeback to a 26-man French national football squad announced by head coach Didier Deschamps on Thursday, while Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema still could not find his place in Les Bleus.
Lacazette, top domestic scorer with 26 goals in Ligue 1 with one game remaining, will feature for the first time for the national team since October 2015.
“Alexandre had a very good season with Lyon,” commented Deschamps on Lacazette’s performance.
18-year-old promising star Kylian Mbappe, who helped Monaco clinch their first league title since 2000 with 15 goals in the campaign, was also selected along with his teammate Benjamin Mendy, Djibril Sidibe and Thomas Lemar.
However, Benzema was still dismissed since his alleged involvement in his former national teammate Mathieu Valbuena’s sex-tape case. He made his last appearance for the French team in October 2015.
“The French team were built before the Euro last year, and tested through the competition where we were able to go into the final,” explained Deschamps.
“I trust players who can make a response on the pitch. I also have incorporated some young players because I think they have great potential. I always consider that a group is above all, and make decisions for the good of the French team,” he added.
France, currently leading Group A with 13 points from five games, will visit Sweden on June 9 in a European zone qualifier of 2018 World Cup.
They are scheduled to have another two international friendlies at home, against Paraguay on June 2 and England on June 13 respectively.
Alphonse Areola (Paris Saint-Germain), Benoit Costil (Rennes), Hugo Lloris (Tottenham Hotspur)
Lucas Digne (Barcelona), Christophe Jallet (Lyon), Presnel Kimpembe (Paris Saint-Germain), Laurent Koscielny (Arsenal), Benjamin Mendy (Monaco), Djibril Sidibe (Monaco), Samuel Umtiti (Barcelona), Raphael Varane (Real Madrid), Kurt Zouma (Chelsea)
N’Golo Kante (Chelsea), Blaise Matuidi (Paris Saint-Germain), Paul Pogba (Manchester United), Adrien Rabiot (Paris Saint-Germain), Moussa Sissoko (Tottenham Hotspur), Corentin Tolisso (Lyon)
Ousmane Dembele (Borussia Dortmund), Olivier Giroud (Arsenal), Antoine Griezmann (Atletico Madrid), Alexandre Lacazette (Lyon), Thomas Lemar (Monaco), Kylian Mbappe (Monaco), Dimitri Payet (Marseille), Florian Thauvin (Marseille)