France coach Raymond Domenech has announced his FIFA World Cup™ squad from which only one player, likely to be a defender, will be omitted in the coming days.
A 24-man squad, whittled down from a list of 30 revealed last week, will next week take part in a three-day training camp at altitude in the French ski resort of Tignes.
Domenech is scheduled to announce his definitive 23-man squad on 27 May, prior to their departure for a second training camp in Tunisia. Among the most notable absentees from the 24-man squad are Marseille striker Hatem Ben Arfa and Lille goalkeeper Mickael Landreau.
Defenders Adil Rami and Rod Fanni, midfielder Yann Mvila and striker Jimmy Briand were also among the six players stripped from the 30-man squad. Among those retained were Marseille midfielder Mathieu Valbuena, Bordeaux defender Marc Planus and Bordeaux 'keeper Cedric Carrasso.
Valbuena, known for his workmanlike qualities and diminutive size - he stands only 1.63m tall - was called up for the first time in March 2008 before being sidelined by injury. His achievement this time is all the more notable as he began the French league season mostly warming the Marseille substitutes bench.
The absence of Rami and the inclusion of only four central defenders suggests Domenech may call upon defensive midfielder Jeremy Toulalan to drop back a notch if needed. If that is Domenech's long-term strategy Bordeaux defender Planus could become the 24th man and miss out on the trip to South Africa where each team has a maximum squad of 23.
Landreau meanwhile misses out for the second major tournament in a row, having been among the seven squad players dropped prior to the start of the Euro 2008.
Carrasso now officially replaces Landreau as France's third choice goalkeeper after Lyon stopper Hugo Lloris and Marseille 'keeper Steve Mandanda. France, who lost to Italy in the 2006 FIFA World Cup Final, are in Group A with hosts South Africa, Mexico and Uruguay.
Goalkeepers: Hugo Lloris (Lyon), Steve Mandanda (Marseille), Cedric Carrasso (Bordeaux)
Defenders: William Gallas (Arsenal/ENG), Eric Abidal (Barcelona/ESP), Bakary Sagna (Arsenal/ENG), Patrice Evra (Manchester United/ENG), Gael Clichy (Arsenal/ENG), Marc Planus (Bordeaux), Anthony Reveillere (Lyon), Sebastien Squillaci (Sevilla/ESP)
Midfielders: Abou Diaby (Arsenal/ENG), Alou Diarra (Bordeaux), Lassana Diarra (Real Madrid/ESP), Yoann Gourcuff (Bordeaux), Florent Malouda (Chelsea/ENG), Jeremy Toulalan (Lyon)
Strikers: Nicolas Anelka (Chelsea/ENG), Djibril Cisse (Panathinaikos/GRE), Andre-Pierre Gignac (Toulouse), Sidney Govou (Lyon), Thierry Henry (Barcelona/ESP), Franck Ribery (Bayern Munich/GER), Mathieu Valbuena (Marseille)
* Please note that squad lists only become official after they have been submitted to and announced by FIFA.