Giroud and Camavinga named in France squad as they get set for World Cup defence

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Giroud and Camavinga named in France squad as they get set for World Cup defence
Giroud has been named in the squad after his fine form for AC Milan
Giroud has been named in the squad after his fine form for AC Milan
Reuters
Olivier Giroud (36) was named in France's provisional squad for the Qatar World Cup as coach Didier Deschamps unveiled a 25-man group on Wednesday amid injury concerns for the defending champions.

The experienced striker, recalled in March after a nine-month hiatus following the team's early Euro 2021 exit, has been in good form for AC Milan and France and is two goals shy of Thierry Henry's all-time national scoring record of 51 goals.

"He knows where he stands. He knows what my position is. It's better for the French team that he is with us," said Deschamps, who will have to trim his squad to 23 by Monday.

Several players have been struggling with injuries, including Ballon d'Or winner Karim Benzema (34), Paris Saint-Germain centre back Presnel Kimpembe (27) and Manchester United defender Raphael Varane (29).

"I know he (Benzema) will do everything to be at 100% in time," said Deschamps.

With Paul Pogba (29) and N'Golo Kante (31) injured and ruled out of the tournament ahead of the squad announcement, Aurelien Tchouameni (22), Adrien Rabiot (27) and Eduardo Camavinga (19) were among the six midfielders named.

Up front, Kylian Mbappe (23) was named along with Giroud, Benzema, Kingsley Coman (26), Ousmane Dembele (25), Antoine Griezmann (31) and Christopher Nkunku (24).

In defence, Deschamps omitted the in-form Jonathan Clauss (30), an indication that he might opt for a four-man set-up at the back as the Olympique de Marseille player is a pure wing back, ideally suited for a 3-5-2 formation.

Deschamps surprisingly omitted Lucas Digne (29) and Ferland Mendy (27), leaving the squad short of left backs, while AC Milan keeper Mike Maignan (27) was left out because of a leg muscle injury.

France will be in Group D in Qatar with Australia, Denmark and Tunisia.

They start their campaign against Australia on November 22 at the Al Janoub Stadium.

"I made a few players unhappy tonight and 25 are super happy, but I know that as soon as we meet up they will all want to be in the starting 11," said Deschamps, who hopes France will be the first nation to retain the World Cup title since Brazil in 1962, despite a dismal Nations League campaign.

"I don't care about bad statistics. We're not in the best position but we know what we are capable of. However, let's first go through the first round before setting any goals."

France Squad

Goalkeepers

Alphonse Areola (West Ham United)

Hugo Lloris (Tottenham Hotspur)

Steve Mandanda (Rennes)

Defenders

Lucas Hernandez (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 Upamecano (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)

Kingsley Coman (Bayern Munich)

Ousmane Dembele (Barcelona)

Olivier Giroud (AC Milan)

Antoine Griezmann (Atletico Madrid)

Kylian Mbappe (Paris Saint-Germain)

Christopher Nkunku (RB Leipzig)