Saliba, Konate and Giroud in France WC squad, Deschamps only picks 25


France have named William Saliba, Ibrahima Konate and Olivier Giroud in their World Cup squad with Didier Deschamps only electing to name 25 players for the tournament.

Manchester United defender Raphael Varane is also selected in the reigning World Cup champions’ squad despite tearing his hamstring in a draw at Chelsea two weeks ago.

Goalkeepers Hugo Lloris and Alphonse Areola join Saliba, Konate and Varane as the only Premier League-based players in the France team.

Arsenal’s Saliba has enjoyed a breakthrough 2022 year with the Gunners this season and on loan at Marseille last term, while Giroud has been in and out of France’s squad this calendar year due to the heavy competition up front that includes Kylian Mbappe, Antoine Griezmann and Karim Benzema.

Raphael Varane covers his face after injury forces him off the pitch in Manchester United's visit to Chelsea
Image: Raphael Varane was injured against Chelsea last month but the Man United man is going to the World Cup

But the 36-year-old has been rewarded for a positive start to the season in which he has scored nine goals in 18 matches for AC Milan in Serie A and the Champions League and could become France’s all-time top scorer in with the former Arsenal striker just two goals behind Thierry Henry’s record of 51.

Meanwhile, Konate’s inclusion in Les Blues’ team is a surprise given he has only been capped twice by France and has featured in just four matches in all competitions for Liverpool this season.

Liverpool's Ibrahima Konate is going to the World Cup with France
Image: Liverpool’s Ibrahima Konate is going to the World Cup with France

Aston Villa’s Boubacar Kamara returned from a long-term injury in time for the tournament but he has not been named in the team alongside his club team-mate Lucas Digne.

Marseille duo Matteo Guendouzi and Jordan Veretout have been preferred to Kamara with Aurelien Tchouameni, Eduardo Camavinga, Adrien Rabiot and Youssouf Fofana the other midfielders in the squad.

There is also no place for Leeds United goalkeeper Illan Meslier in the team despite some recent good displays for Jesse Marsch’s squad. Veteran goalkeeper Steve Mandanda, 37, joins Areola as back-up to captain Lloris.

France’s World Cup squad in full

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

Defenders: Lucas Hernardez (Bayern Munich), Theo Hernandez (AC Milan), Presnel Kimpembe (Paris Saint-Germain), Ibrahima Konate (Liverpool), Jules Kounde (Barcelona), Benjamin Pavard (Bayern Munich), William Saliba (Arsenal), Dayot Upamencano (Bayern Munich), Raphael Varane (Manchester United)

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

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

France’s World Cup group stage fixtures

All kick-off times GMT

France vs Australia – November 22, 7pm

France vs Denmark – November 26, 4pm

Tunisia vs France – November 30, 3pm

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