France call up Varane, Remy
Centre back Raphael Varane and striker Loic Remy were called up on Thursday for France’s final soccer World Cup qualifier against Finland this month.
Coach Didier Deschamps also included Liverpool defender Mamadou Sakho and Newcastle midfielder Yohan Cabaye in the 23-man list.
The 20-year-old Varane returned to action with Real Madrid in Wednesday’s Champions League 4-0 victory at Copenhagen after months out with a knee injury.
His first two international appearances in March, when he started the World Cup qualifiers at home against Georgia and Spain, proved enough to convince Deschamps to recall him.
“It’s true that he has not played a lot yet but regarding what he did with us, it was logical to me to call him up,” Deschamps told a news conference.
Sakho, who left French champions Paris St Germain because he was the fourth choice there, is also returning after earning four consecutive starts with English Premier League side Liverpool.
Remy, who has scored three goals in his last two league games with Newcastle, is also coming back as Deschamps continues to look for the best attacking options.
Karim Benzema, who has not scored with Les Bleus since June last year, was benched in Belarus last month but replacement Olivier Giroud did not prove much more effective despite the 4-2 victory.
“Loic Remy has the scoring touch and is able to fill in several attacking positions. He also has the pace that gives us different possibilities,” Deschamps said.
France host Australia in a friendly on October 11 and take on Finland for their final 2014 World Cup qualifier four days later.
They are second in their Group I, tied on 14 points with leaders Spain, and will secure a spot in next month’s playoff if they do not lose to Finland.
Goalkeepers: Mickael Landreau (Bastia), Hugo Lloris (Tottenham Hotspur), Steve Mandanda (Olympique Marseille)
Defenders: Eric Abidal (Monaco), Gael Clichy (Manchester City), Mathieu Debuchy (Newcastle United), Patrice Evra (Manchester United), Laurent Koscielny (Arsenal), Bacary Sagna (Arsenal), Mamadou Sakho (Liverpool), Raphael Varane (Real Madrid)
Midfielders: Yohan Cabaye (Newcastle), Clement Grenier (Olympique Lyonnais), Blaise Matuidi (Paris St Germain), Samir Nasri (Manchester City), Paul Pogba (Juventus), Moussa Sissoko (Newcastle United)
Forwards: Karim Benzema (Real Madrid), Olivier Giroud (Arsenal), Dimitri Payet (Olympique Marseille), Loic Remy (Newcastle), Franck Ribery (Bayern Munich), Mathieu Valbuena (Olympique Marseille).