Morgan Amalfitano called up to France squad
Marseille midfielder Morgan Amalfitano has been called up for
the first time to the France squad for Wednesday’s friendly in
France coach Laurent Blanc relied on Marseille’s good run of
form in the Champions League but also on the old guard for a match
against one of the strongest teams in the world.
Marseille’s 1-0 win over Inter Milan on Wednesday did not go
unnoticed as Amalfitano and Marseille winger Mathieu Valbuena made
the squad on Thursday.
”That’s the type of player that I like,” Blanc said of
Amalfitano. ”They’re very strong technically and they often make
the right choice with the ball.”
Blanc also valued experience by recalling AC Milan center back
Philippe Mexes, Manchester United left back Patrice Evra and
Tottenham forward Louis Saha.
”He’s a guy on whom I rely a lot,” Blanc said of Mexes. ”He’s
a defender who’s very good man-to-man but also in building up
plays. His profile is different from the other defenders.”
Mexes was dropped from the squad last year because of a knee
injury. His last match with France was a goalless draw with Croatia
in a friendly last March.
France is unbeaten in its last 17 matches, but it will face its
strongest opponent since a 2-0 loss to Spain in a friendly two
”That match will help us assess our value against a team which
is one of the best two in the world with Spain,” Blanc said. ”We
are not at the level of Germany yet. But we’ll go to Germany with
Germany was a semifinalist at the 2010 World Cup and lost the
European Championship final to Spain in 2008.
”We will play to win in Germany,” Blanc said. ”Playing the
best teams is the most exciting thing. What do we have at stake?
Everybody sees us lose in Germany. We know that’s what people
think. I hope that will give us extra motivation.”
France was knocked out in the first round at both the World Cup
in South Africa and Euro 2008, in both cases without winning a
Blanc was given the tough task to rebuild a competitive France
team. He will miss Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema and Marseille
forward Loic Remy for the match in Germany.
Benzema picked up a groin injury in a 1-1 draw with CSKA Moscow
in the Champions League on Tuesday while Remy injured his right
thigh in Marseille’s 3-1 win over Bourg-Peronnas in the last 16 of
the French Cup last week.
Blanc will instead rely on Montpellier striker Olivier Giroud,
the top scorer in the French league, and Saha to crack Germany’s
”The France team must be open to the player who’s in form,”
Blanc said about his squad policy. ”If there’s a player who
performs well in the French league, there will certainly be a spot
for him in the squad for the European Championship.”
Blanc also named the three players who will have strong
responsibilities within the squad and who are the favorites for
wearing the captain’s armband: Mexes, Lyon goalkeeper Hugo Lloris
and Barcelona defender Eric Abidal.
The question of the captaincy has become more and more important
following the fiasco in South Africa, when then-captain Evra led a
mutiny that caused a training strike.
Goalkeepers: Cedric Carrasso (Bordeaux), Hugo Lloris (Lyon),
Steve Mandanda (Marseille).
Defenders: Eric Abidal (Barcelona), Mathieu Debuchy (Lille),
Patrice Evra (Manchester United), Philippe Mexes (AC Milan), Adil
Rami (Valencia), Anthony Reveillere (Lyon), Mamadou Sakho (Paris
Midfielders: Morgan Amalfitano (Marseille), Yohan Cabaye
(Newcastle), Alou Diarra (Marseille), Yann M’Vila (Rennes), Florent
Malouda (Chelsea), Marvin Martin (Sochaux), Samir Nasri (Manchester
Forwards: Kevin Gameiro (Paris Saint-Germain), Olivier Giroud
(Montpellier), Jeremy Menez (Paris Saint-Germain), Franck Ribery
(Bayern Munich), Louis Saha (Tottenham), Mathieu Valbuena