Giroud given first France call-up
© AFP

Montpellier striker Olivier Giroud has been handed a maiden call-up to the France squad for the friendlies against USA and Belgium.

Giroud has scored eight Ligue 1 goals for his club this season with Montpellier making a strong start. They currently lie just three points behind leaders Paris St Germain. The 25-year-old comes in for Bafetimbi Gomis, who has been omitted despite being recalled after a two-year absence for the final UEFA EURO 2012 qualifiers last month.

"He (Giroud) is a boy who has made an excellent start to the season with his club and I have followed him for some time," said Les Bleus coach Laurent Blanc.

"He may have a pivotal role. He has turned in several good performances and we have been considering him for a while. This is the right time to give him the reward of a France call-up."

There was no place for Manchester United full-back Patrice Evra, with Valencia's Jeremy Mathieu coming in. Younes Kaboul and Djibril Cisse were also left out but PSG centre-half Mamadou Sakho was included.

France squad: Cedric Carrasso (Bordeaux), Hugo Lloris (Lyon), Steve Mandanda (Marseille); Eric Abidal (Barcelona), Matthew Debuchy (Lille), Jeremy Mathieu (Valencia), Laurent Koscielny (Arsenal), Adil Rami (Valencia), Anthony Reveillere (Lyon), Mamadou Sakho (Paris St Germain); Yohan Cabaye (Newcastle), Alou Diarra (Marseille), Florent Malouda (Chelsea), Yann M'Vila (Rennes), Marvin Martin (Sochaux), Samir Nasri (Manchester City); Karim Benzema (Real Madrid), Kevin Gameiro (Paris St Germain), Jeremy Menez (Paris St Germain), Loic Remy (Marseille), Franck Ribery (Bayern Munich), Olivier Giroud (Montpellier)