Giroud omitted again as Hernandez, Pavard return in France Nations squad

Olympique de Marseille midfielder Matteo Guendouzi was called up as Chelsea's Ngolo Kante is missing after testing positive for COVID-19.

Giroud has had more playing time since joining AC Milan from Chelsea but was not included in the squad for the second consecutive time after missing the World Cup qualifiers earlier this month   -  REUTERS

France has again left out striker Olivier Giroud as coach Didier Deschamps on Thursday named his squad for next month's Nations League Final Four tournament in Italy.

The 35-year-old Giroud, France's second-top all-time scorer, has had more playing time since joining AC Milan from Chelsea but was not included in the squad for the second consecutive time after missing the World Cup qualifiers earlier this month.

However, Les Bleus, who face Belgium in the semi-finals next Thursday at the Juventus Stadium in Turin, welcome back defenders Lucas Hernandez and Benjamin Pavard, who feature with their Bayern Munich teammate Dayot Upamecano.

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Olympique de Marseille midfielder Matteo Guendouzi was called up as Chelsea's Ngolo Kante is missing after testing positive for COVID-19.

"There's a 10-day isolation period so he would not have been able to train and he was also just out of an injury layoff. It's best for him that he uses that period to recover his physical freshness," Deschamps told a news conference.

Keeper Steve Mandanda was omitted after losing his spot in the starting lineup at Marseille, with Benoit Costil coming in.

Hosts Italy faces Spain in the other semi-final on Wednesday.

Squad

Goalkeepers: Hugo Lloris (Tottenham Hotspur), Mike Maignan (AC Milan), Benoit Costil (Girondins de Bordeaux)

Defenders: Lucas Digne (Everton), Leo Dubois (Olympique Lyonnais), Lucas Hernandez (Bayern Munich), Presnel Kimpembe (Paris St Germain), Jules Kounde (Sevilla), Benjamin Pavard (Bayern Munich), Dayot Upamecano (Bayern Munich), Raphael Varane (Manchester United)

Midfielders: Matteo Guendouzi (Olympique de Marseille), Theo Hernandez (AC Milan), Paul Pogba (Manchester United), Adrien Rabiot (Juventus), Aurelien Tchouameni (Monaco), Jordan Veretout (Roma)

Forwards: Wissam Ben Yedder (Monaco), Karim Benzema (Real Madrid), Moussa Diaby (Bayer Leverkusen), Antoine Griezmann (Atletico Madrid), Anthony Martial (Manchester United), Kylian Mbappe (Paris St Germain) (Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by Ken Ferris)

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