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WORLD CUP 2014

WORLD CUP

France World Cup squad named: Nasri left out

France coach Didier Deschamps on Tuesday left Manchester City midfielder Samir Nasri out of a young 23-man squad for this year's World Cup in Brazil.

France World Cup squad named: Nasri left out
Samir Nasri has been left out of Frances World Cup squad by coach Didier Deshcamps. Photo: AFP

Neither 26-year-old Nasri, who has won 41 caps, nor Monaco captain Eric Abidal, capped 67 times, feature in the squad or on the seven-man standby list.

"He is a player of great quality, but Samir's performances for France have not been of the standard of those with his club Manchester City," Deschamps said after revealing his squad live on French television channel TF1's evening news programme.

"He is an important player and a first-pick for Manchester City and that is not the case for France.

"And when he is a substitute he is not happy, and that is felt by the squad as a whole. That is why he is not on the list."

Nasri, who was also left out of Raymond Domenech's squad for the 2010 World Cup, last played for France in the 2-0 defeat to Ukraine in the first leg of last November's World Cup qualifying play-off.

Abidal also played in that game before losing his place, and Deschamps admitted that he preferred to take a younger player than the former Barcelona man, who is now 34.

There are eight players aged under 25 in the squad, including the Real Sociedad winger Antoine Griezmann, who made his international debut against the Netherlands in March.

Paris Saint-Germain left-back Lucas Digne, 20, was preferred to Gael Clichy of Manchester City while Newcastle United's Loic Remy, who played under Deschamps at Marseille, was selected among the forwards rather than Alexandre Lacazette, scorer of 15 goals in Ligue 1 this season with Lyon.

France have been drawn in Group E with Switzerland, Ecuador and Honduras.

They will play friendlies against Norway at the Stade de France on May 27, against Paraguay in Nice on June 1 and against Jamaica at Lille's Stade Pierre-Mauroy on June 8 before flying to Brazil.

Their opening World Cup game will be against Honduras in Porto Alegre on June 15.

France squad for 2014 World Cup

Goalkeepers: Mickael Landreau (SC Bastia), Hugo Lloris (Tottenham Hotspur/ENG), Steve Mandanda (Marseille)

Defenders: Mathieu Debuchy (Newcastle United/ENG), Lucas Digne (Paris Saint-Germain), Patrice Evra (Manchester United/ENG), Laurent Koscielny (Arsenal/ENG), Eliaquim Mangala (FC Porto/POR), Bacary Sagna (Arsenal/ENG), Mamadou Sakho (Liverpool/ENG), Raphael Varane (Real Madrid/ESP)

Midfielders: Yohan Cabaye (Paris Saint-Germain), Clement Grenier (Lyon), Blaise Matuidi (Paris Saint-Germain), Rio Mavuba (Lille), Paul Pogba (Juventus/ITA), Moussa Sissoko (Newcastle United/ENG), Mathieu Valbuena (Marseille)

Forwards: Karim Benzema (Real Madrid/ESP), Olivier Giroud (Arsenal/ENG), Antoine Griezmann (Real Sociedad/ESP), Loic Remy (Newcastle United/ENG), Franck Ribery (Bayern Munich/GER)

Standby list: Remy Cabella (Montpellier), Maxime Gonalons, Alexandre Lacazette (both Lyon), Loic Perrin, Stephane Ruffier (both Saint-Etienne), Morgan Schneiderlin (Southampton/ENG), Benoit Tremoulinas (Saint-Etienne, on loan from Dynamo Kiev/UKR)

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FOOTBALL

France plans to keep growing women’s game after World Cup disappointment

France faces the challenge of continuing to develop women's football after the bitter disappointment of elimination from the World Cup by the United States.

France plans to keep growing women's game after World Cup disappointment
France players after the defeat against USA. Photo: AFP

“Back to Earth” was how sports daily L'Equipe put it after the host nation lost 2-1 to the holders in a quarter-final played out before a feverish crowd in Paris.

L'Equipe talked of “the disappointment of a shattered adventure” because coach Corinne Diacre's team had dreamt of emulating the men, World Cup winners in Russia last year and also winners as hosts in 1998.

The team had been desperate to make it to Lyon, where the semi-finals and final will be played and where seven of those who featured for France on Friday play their club football for Europe's top side.

Instead, France find themselves out of a fifth straight major tournament in the quarter-finals. To rub salt into the wounds, Friday's defeat had the knock-on effect of denying them a place at next year's Olympics.

Diacre had been set the objective of reaching the final, which always looked a daunting challenge once the draw raised the likelihood of an early meeting with the USA.

Amid the dejection on Friday, Diacre stated her wish to continue, and on Saturday French Football Federation (FFF) President Noel Le Graet confirmed she would stay.

“She will be in charge until the end of her contract, if not longer,” Le Graet told AFP.

That means until Euro 2021 in England at least, and the aim in France is to keep developing the women's game to give them a chance of one day going all the way.

The FFF hope the number of registered female players will reach 200,000 next year, an increase of almost 10 percent from present figures, but far from the two million registered male players.

They have also promised to invest 15 million euros into a post-World Cup “legacy” fund.

The interest in the women's game is there, as shown by television audiences during the World Cup, with 11.8 million watching the USA game on terrestrial TV.

However, translating that to an increased following in the women's domestic league will be a bigger challenge.

France games have drawn sell-out crowds at the World Cup, but in general attendances in domestic competition are modest at best, even if almost 26,000 saw powerhouses Lyon beat closest rivals Paris Saint-Germain earlier this year.

“We cannot go from so much enthusiasm now to league matches on poor pitches with only 120 fans,” said Le Graet. “We all need to make an effort and we will.”

Matches are televised, but like elsewhere income remains light years from rights deals in the men's game — a new sponsorship contract for the 12-club top flight with chemicals company Arkema is worth one million euros per season for three years.

Average salaries are reportedly around 3,500 euros per month, although stars like Amandine Henry and Wendie Renard are believed to earn almost 10 times that at Lyon, who have won the Champions League in the last four years. Again, those sums are dwarfed by the wages often on offer to the men.

“We need to keep putting money in, keep professionalising, because other countries are doing it and maybe that's why they are ahead of us,” warned Lyon and France forward Eugenie Le Sommer.

“We have a good league but unfortunately not every team is professional.

“There are countries who are ahead of us and we must catch up. Even Spain are putting lots of money in and we need to make sure we are not left behind.”

READ ALSO: France coach laments 'failure' as hosts knocked out of World Cup

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