Ribery, Valbuena earn France recalls

25 August 2011 02:30

Attacking midfielders Franck Ribery and Mathieu Valbuena were on Thursday both recalled to the France squad for the Euro 2012 qualifiers against Albania and Romania in September.

Along with Arsenal centre-back Laurent Koscielny, they were the only additions to the squad that recorded a 1-1 draw with Chile in France's last outing in a friendly match in Montpellier earlier this month.

Ribery missed the Chile match with an ankle injury but has shown good form for Bayern Munich in the early stages of the German season, notably scoring the second goal in Bayern's 5-0 thrashing of Hamburg last weekend.

Samir Nasri retains his place, having completed his move from Arsenal to Manchester City on Wednesday, and Laurent Blanc said he welcome the former Marseille star's decision to seek pastures new.

"He's signed for Manchester City to play," said the France coach.

"He's setting himself up for a new challenge but he has the ability to do it. The cards are in his hands.

"We count on him. He's very important for the France squad. The challenge could be a good thing for him and for the France team."

Winger Dimitri Payet has paid the price for a slow start to his Lille career following his summer move to Saint-Etienne, while Paris Saint-Germain captain Mamadou Sakho is also absent due to a thigh injury.

With AC Milan's Philippe Mexes still recovering from a serious knee injury and Adil Rami suspended for the match in Albania on September 2, Younes Kaboul and Eric Abidal are likely to form France's centre-back pairing in Tirana.

Blanc has also kept faith with PSG striker Guillaume Hoarau, despite his underwhelming start to the season and the eye-catching form of Montpellier's Olivier Giroud and Lyon's Bafetimbi Gomis.

France, who travel to Romania on September 6, currently top Euro 2012 qualifying Group D by a point from Belarus and also have a game in hand.


Goalkeepers: Hugo Lloris (Lyon), Steve Mandanda (Marseille), Cedric Carrasso (Bordeaux)

Defenders: Eric Abidal (Barcelona/ESP), Bakary Sagna (Arsenal/ENG), Adil Rami (Valencia/ESP), Patrice Evra (Manchester United/ENG), Anthony Reveillere (Lyon), Younes Kaboul (Tottenham Hotspur/ENG), Laurent Koscielny (Arsenal/ENG)

Midfielders: Alou Diarra (Marseille), Blaise Matuidi (Paris Saint-Germain), Yohan Cabaye (Newcastle United/ENG), Yann M'Vila (Rennes), Florent Malouda (Chelsea/ENG), Jeremy Menez (Paris Saint-Germain), Samir Nasri (Manchester City/ENG), Marvin Martin (Sochaux), Mathieu Valbuena (Marseille/FRA)

Forwards: Kevin Gameiro, Guillaume Hoarau (both Paris Saint-Germain), Karim Benzema (Real Madrid/ESP), Loic Remy (Marseille), Franck Ribery (Bayern Munich/GER)

Source: AFP