France suspend squad
New France coach Laurent Blanc has taken the decision to suspend the entire 23-man squad which took part in the FIFA World Cup™ for next month's friendly against Norway.
A statement on fff.fr today read: "Laurent Blanc met this Friday 23 July, with the federal council, to whom he presented his staff and his sporting project.
"He also proposed to the federal council, who accepted, not to retain for the friendly against Norway, on Wednesday 11 August in Oslo, any of the 23 players officially selected by the French Football Federation for the World Cup in South Africa.
"Laurent Blanc will release the list of players retained for this match against Norway on Thursday 5 August at 11.30."
That list seems certain to include the likes of Real Madrid duo Lassana Diarra, who missed the campaign with a stomach problem, and Karim Benzema - surprisingly omitted by then coach Raymond Domenech.
Mickael Landreau, Rod Fanni, Adil Rami, Yann M'Vila, Hatem Ben Arfa and Jimmy Briand were all cut from Domenech's 30-man provisional squad, while midfielders Samir Nasri and Mathieu Flamini will also surely be expecting to hear from Blanc.
There could even be a shock recall for Manchester City veteran Patrick Vieira, although the 107-cap midfielder recently insisted: "My focus is on City, nothing else. I want to do my best for the club."
Arsenal trio Bacary Sagna, Gael Clichy and Abou Diaby, former club-mate William Gallas, Bayern Munich winger Franck Ribery, Barcelona's Eric Abidal, Chelsea pair Anelka and Florent Malouda and Bordeaux playmaker Yoann Gourcuff are also among the notable players affected by Blanc's decision.
The players suspended: Lloris (Lyon), Mandanda (Marseille), Carrasso (Bordeaux); Sagna, Clichy (both Arsenal), Reveillere (Lyon), Abidal (Barcelona), Gallas (unattached), Planus (Bordeaux), Evra (Manchester United), Squillaci (Sevilla); Ribery (Bayern Munich), Gourcuff (Bordeaux), Toulalan (Lyon), Malouda (Chelsea), A Diarra (Bordeaux), Diaby (Arsenal); Cisse (Panathinaikos), Govou (Lyon), Gignac (Toulouse), Anelka (Chelsea), Valbuena (Marseille).