France coach Raymond Domenech has sprung a surprise by naming Bayern Munich midfielder Franck Ribery in his 22-man squad for the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™ qualifier with the Faroe Islands in Torshavn on 12 August.
Ribery is still recovering from a knee injury and, having last trained on 12 July, indicated recently he was not yet match fit.
Domenech said that since Ribery could play for Bayern in their German Bundesliga opener next week, he would have no qualms about using the midfielder for "a brief spell."
"Franck said he would not be match fit for a full match but I've since spoken to him by telephone," said Domenech. "He is back training with Bayern, and he could play against Hoffenheim (on 8 August) and so he could be useful for us even if it's just for a brief spell. I wouldn't have called him up if he was in pain. That's not the way I operate."
Meanwhile former midfield marshall Patrick Vieira has not made the squad. The 33-year-old France skipper has already resumed training with his club Inter Milan but, despite nursing an injured thumb, appears to be paying the price for an apparent lack of form.
I wouldn't have called him up if he was in pain. That's not the way I operate.
Making his return to the squad after a seven-month absence, Vieira was uninspiring in France's 1-0 defeat to Nigeria in a June friendly. The Frenchman also failed to impress Domenech in Inter's friendly against Monaco last week.
While claiming he did not base his decision on Vieira's performance in either match, Domenech was unequivocal about which path Vieira had to take to fight his way back into the team.
"Pat needs a lot of match time before getting back to his normal level," said Domenech. "He's the captain of France, we know what he brings to the team but he needs to play, get a long series of matches under his belt. I hope he starts playing, at Inter Milan or elsewhere, as much as possible."
In Vieira's absence Barcelona forward Thierry Henry wears the captain's armband.
France have an eight-point deficit to Group Seven leaders Serbia although Les Bleus have played two games less. The winners of each group qualify automatically for the 2010 world finals in South Africa next summer, with the best runners-up being forced into a play-off.
Goalkeepers: Hugo Lloris (Lyon), Steve Mandanda (Marseille), Cedric Carrasso (Bordeaux)
Defenders: Eric Abidal (Barcelona/ESP), Julien Escude (Sevilla/ESP), Patrice Evra (Manchester United/ENG), Rod Fanni (Rennes), William Gallas (Arsenal/ENG), Bacary Sagna (Arsenal/ENG), Sebastien Squillaci (Sevilla/ESP)
Midfielders: Alou Diarra (Bordeaux), Lassana Diarra (Real Madrid/ESP), Yoann Gourcuff (Bordeaux), Florent Malouda (Chelsea/ENG), Moussa Sissoko (Toulouse), Jeremy Toulalan (Lyon), Franck Ribery (Bayern Munich/GER)
Forwards: Nicolas Anelka (Chelsea/ENG), Karim Benzema (Real Madrid/ESP), Thierry Henry (Barcelona/ESP), Andre-Pierre Gignac (Toulouse), Loic Remy (Nice)