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Giroud left out of France squad, Laporte earns call-up

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Athletic Bilbao defender Aymeric Laporte was called up for the first time by the French national team for the matches against Bulgaria and Holland in the 2018 World Cup qualifiers. France coach Didier Deschamps announced the list on Thursday for the next two games of the qualifiers.

The coach denied that the call for Laporte was in response to the possibility that the defender could opt for the Spanish national team, adding that he has been following the player for a while.

A notable absentee from the French side was Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud, who has been struggling this season with a toe injury, and is yet to start a game for the Gunners this season. Fellow striker Karim Benzema meanwhile continues his international exile.


Goalkeepers: Alphonse Areola (PSG/France), Hugo Lloris (Tottenham/England), Steve Mandanda (Crystal Palace/England).

Defenders: Lucas Digne (Barcelona/Spain), Laurent Koscielny (Arsenal/England), Layvin Kurzawa (PSG/France), Aymeric Laporte (Athletic Bilbao/Spain), Jeremy Mathieu (Barcelona/Spain), Bacary Sagna (Manchester City/ England), Djibril Sidibe (Monaco/France), Raphael Varane (Real Madrid/ Spain).

Midfielders: Yohan Cabaye (Crystal Palace/England), N'Golo Kante (Chelsea/England), Blaise Matuidi (PSG/France), Dimitri Payet (West Ham/England), Paul Pogba (Manchester United/England), Moussa Sissoko (Tottenham/England).

Forwards: Kingsley Coman (Bayern Munich/Germany), Nabil Fekir (Lyon/France), Kevin Gameiro (Atletico Madrid/Spain), Andre-Pierre Gignac (Tigres/Mexico), Antoine Griezmann (Atletico Madrid/Spain), Anthony Martial (Manchester United/England).