France coach leaves out Giroud and calls up four new players

PARIS (AP) — Coach Didier Deschamps announced France’s squad for upcoming World Cup qualifiers on Thursday with four new players and no place for veteran striker Olivier Giroud.

Giroud is the France team’s second highest scorer with 46 goals, but the 34-year-old AC Milan forward lost his place to Karim Benzema at the European Championship.

Giroud has played 110 matches for France and has been in every squad since he was first called up in November 2011.

“I have never taken a radical decision with any player. It’s simply a sporting choice with regard to current form,” Deschamps said. “There is obviously a lot of competition for places. It’s down to Olivier to keep playing well.”

Deschamps hopes Giroud’s move to Milan will lead to that following a loss of form last season with Chelsea, where Giroud hardly played in the months leading up to Euro 2020.

“His situation has changed with his transfer to Milan, where he’ll be playing a lot more,” Deschamps said.

The four uncapped players are Bayer Leverkusen forward Moussa Diaby, Monaco midfielder Aurelien Tchouameni, AC Milan left back Theo Hernandez and Roma midfielder Jordan Veretout.

Hernandez has impressed with his attacking skills, scoring 15 goals in the past two seasons.

Veretout netted 10 league goals in Serie A last season and opened this campaign with two goals in his first game last weekend.

Deschamps also recalled Manchester United forward Anthony Martial, who missed Euro 2020 after sustaining a left knee injury.

France hosts Bosnia and Herzegovina in Strasbourg on Sept. 1 and travels to play Ukraine in Kiev three days later before hosting Finland in Lyon on Sept. 7.

France leads Group D with seven points from three games.

But 2018 World Cup winner France fell short of expectations at Euro 2020, losing on penalties to Switzerland in the round of 16 game.

“The most important thing is what lies ahead,” Deschamps said. “What’s behind is in the rearview mirror. It won’t help us to advance.”

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Squad:

Goalkeepers: Hugo Lloris (Tottenham), Mike Maignan (AC Milan), Steve Mandanda (Marseille)

Defenders: Lucas Digne (Everton), Leo Dubois (Lyon), Theo Hernandez (AC Milan), Presnel Kimpembe (Paris Saint-Germain), Jules Kounde (Sevilla), Dayot Upamecano (Bayern Munich), Raphael Varane (Manchester United), Kurt Zouma (West Ham)

Midfielders: N’Golo Kante (Chelsea), Paul Pogba (Manchester United), Aurelien Tchouameni (Monaco), Corentin Tolisso (Bayern Munich), Jordan Veretout (AS Roma)

Forwards: Karim Benzema (Real Madrid), Kingsley Coman (Bayern Munich), Moussa Diaby (Bayer Leverkusen), Antoine Griezmann (Barcelona), Thomas Lemar (Atletico Madrid), Anthony Martial (Manchester United), Kylian Mbappe (Paris Saint-Germain)

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