France drop Martial, Giroud returns
FRANCE on Thursday dropped Anthony Martial for next week’s top of the table World Cup qualifying clash home to Sweden and the friendly with the Ivory Coast, but fit-again Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud returns.
Coach Didier Deschamps had a word of warning for Martial, 20, who under Jose Mourinho at Manchester United has been restricted to appearances from the bench this season.
“His club coach expects more from him and so do I,” said Deschamps.
“I have not forgotten what he has done or what he is capable of doing, but it’s up to him to make efforts to find his best form.”
Giroud missed out last time because of a toe injury, but is back to fitness and scored twice for Arsenal at the weekend after coming on as a substitute at Sunderland.
Adrien Rabiot, 21, the Paris Saint-Germain midfielder who was only a reserve for Euro 2016, comes in at the expense of Crystal Palace’s Yohan Cabaye, but Deschamps has mostly kept the same squad that suffered home heartbreak at the hands of Portugal in the Euro final.
There is still no place for Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema, suspected of involvement in an alleged attempt to blackmail Lyon midfielder Mathieu Valbuena over a sex tape.
France host Sweden at the Stade de France on November 11 and play the Ivory Coast four days later. Sweden and France are top of 2018 World Cup qualifying Group A, each with seven points from three games. — Supersport