France drop Mar­tial, Giroud re­turns

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Sport -

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

Olivier Giroud

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