Cabaye, Remy and Varane recalled to France squad

France coach Didier Deschamps recalled midfielder Yohan Cabaye

and striker Loic Remy to his squad Thursday for an upcoming World

Cup qualifier against Finland.

Cabaye, who has 23 international caps, missed last month’s

qualifiers against Georgia and Belarus because he lacked match

fitness. At the time, he was refusing to train for his club

Newcastle as he tried to push through a move to join Arsenal.

Cabaye has since returned to the Newcastle team and scored with

a brilliant first-time strike in Monday night’s 3-2 loss at

Everton.

France plays Australia in a friendly match next Friday and then

hosts Finland at Stade de France four days later.

Remy has scored three goals in four games for Newcastle. His

last France appearance was in March against Georgia.

”Remy is effective, and he has the advantage of being able to

play in several positions,” Deschamps said. ”He is quick and make

runs from deep. He’s very versatile.”

Deschamps’ team looks certain to finish second in Group I behind

Spain and having to qualify through the playoffs next month. They

are level on points with Spain, but the World Cup winners have

played a game less and have home games against Belarus and

Georgia.

”I don’t know what the odds are (of finishing top),” Deschamps

said. ”But they must be very slim.”

Real Madrid center half Raphael Varane and Liverpool center back

Mamadou Sakho are also back in the squad. Varane only returned from

injury on Wednesday night and played the full 90 minutes in the 4-0

win against FC Copenhagen in the Champions League.

”Raphael was with us for the games in March. He’s been training

regularly for the last three weeks and played yesterday,”

Deschamps said. ”It seemed logical to recall him. Above all, it’s

what he’s capable of doing. I consider him to be an important

player for us.”

Deschamps still has to figure out who to play in attack, with

Karim Benzema failing to score in his past 15 international

appearances and Olivier Giroud in fine form for Arsenal this

season. Deschamps normally prefers one center forward and attempts

to get them to play together have proved fruitless so far.

Benzema was taken off in the second half after a disappointing

performance in the 0-0 draw at Georgia and Giroud replaced him in

attack for the 4-2 away win against Belarus. Benzema did not play a

part in that game.

”Karim has scored goals for Real,” Benzema said. ”I want my

players to be as competitive as possible for their clubs, because

that benefits us.”

Deschamps is unsure whether to experiment with his team against

the Australians.

”I’m not saying that those will start against Australia will

start against Finland,” Deschamps said. ”We have to prepare as

well as possible for the matches in November.”

Squad:

Goalkeepers: Hugo Lloris (Tottenham), Steve Mandanda

(Marseille), Mickael Landreau (Bastia).

Defenders: Eric Abidal (Monaco), Gael Clichy (Manchester City),

Mathieu Debuchy (Newcastle), Patrice Evra (Manchester United),

Laurent Koscielny (Arsenal), Bacary Sagna (Arsenal), Mamadou Sakho

(Liverpool), Raphael Varane (Real Madrid).

Midfielders: Yohan Cabaye (Newcastle); Clement Grenier (Lyon),

Blaise Matuidi (Paris Saint-Germain), Samir Nasri (Manchester

City), Paul Pogba (Juventus), Moussa Sissoko (Newcastle).

Forwards: Karim Benzema (Real Madrid), Olivier Giroud (Arsenal),

Dimitri Payet (Marseille), Loic Remy (Newcastle), Franck Ribery

(Bayern Munich), Mathieu Valbuena (Marseille).