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France names first post-World Cup squad

rfi English, Aug 31

French coach Didier Deschamps has unveiled the list of players chosen for the national team's upcoming matches against Germany and the Netherlands. Deschamps' squad will feature all of the players who starred in the final, save one.

France's post-World Cup squad for its two upcoming Nations League matches remains largely unchanged.

All of the players who featured in the final against Croatia that saw Antoine Griezmann give Les Bleus a 2-1 lead before further goals from Paul Pogba and Kylian Mbappe, will be returning.

France's 23 man squad is as follows:

Hugo Lloris, Benoit Costil, Alphonse Areola

Lucas Hernandez, Presnel Kimpembe, Benjamin Mendy, Benjamin Pavard, Adil Rami, Djibril Sidibe, Samuel Umtiti, Raphael Varane

N'Golo Kante, Blaise Matuidi, Steven N'Zonzi, Paul Pogba, Corentin Tolisso

Ousmane Dembele, Nabil Fekir, Olivier Giroud, Antoine Griezmann, Thomas Lemar, Kylian Mbappe

The only absent player will be Steve Mandanda. The injured Marseille keeper has been replaced by Bordeaux shot-stopper Benoit Costil.

One surprise however was the return of Marseille defender Adil Rami to the 23-man squad. The 32-year old defender had announced his retirement on the night of France's World Cup victory.

Despite being a substitute for most of the tournament, Deschamps said he was still counting on him. "I've talked to him about it (...) he was very happy about the call-up and didn't hesitate a second."

A bigger surprise was the selection of Tottenham goalkeeper Hugo Lloris. The 31-year-old World Cup winner was arrested Friday morning for a drink driving offence in London before being released on bail.

"I've spoken with him, he realises his mistake and he's sorry for it," Deschamps told reporters.

Asked what it was like going into France's next two games as world champions, Deschamps replied: "We're not going to complain," before adding that "life doesn't stop there."

After their triumphant World Cup campaign in Russia, France is now eyeing victory in the Nations League against Germany on 6 September and the Netherlands three days later. Further afield, Deschamps says he's also aiming for a qualification for the Euro Cup.

"There will be high expectations riding on us but that shouldn't put us under undue pressure. We're not going to complain about having won the World Cup!" he said.

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