Payet left out of France World Cup squad
He has a thigh problem that will need at least three weeks to heal, a delay that prompted coach Didier Deschamps to omit the former West Ham player.
Unveiling his squad on French TV, Deschamps said he had no choice but to leave out Payet.
”Without his injury he would have been a serious candidate for the 23-man list,” Deschamps said. ”This is a muscular injury, with a risk of a relapse.”
Payet has been in impressive form with Marseille. He is the French league’s top playmaker this season with 13 assists, and claimed three goals and seven assists in the Europa League, starring in the quarterfinals and semifinals.
France, runner-up at the European Championship two years ago, opens its World Cup campaign against Australia on June 16. It meets Peru five days later and closes the group stage against Denmark on June 26.
The 29-year-old Nzonzi has just two caps.
”Steven has technical skills and an imposing height, he plays in the same fashion as N’golo Kante,” Deschamps said. ”And Adrien’s performances with France are not at the same level as those he delivered with PSG this season.”
In defense, Djibril Sidibe and Benjamin Mendy were included after recovering from injuries.
Deschamps also named 11 reserves who won’t be joining France’s training camp next week but could be called up in case of injury.
Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema, who has a strained relationship with Deschamps and also missed Euro 2016, did not make the cut despite being regarded by many as the best French forward of his generation.
Goalkeepers: Hugo Lloris (Tottenham), Steve Mandanda (Marseille), Alphonse Areola (Paris Saint-Germain).
Defenders: Djibril Sidibe (Monaco), Benjamin Pavard (Stuttgart), Samuel Umtiti (Barcelona), Raphael Varane (Real Madrid), Presnel Kimpembe (Paris Saint-Germain), Adil Rami (Marseille), Benjamin Mendy (Manchester City), Lucas Hernandez (Atletico Madrid).
Forwards: Antoine Griezmann (Atletico Madrid), Olivier Giroud (Chelsea), Kylian Mbappe (Paris Saint-Germain), Ousmane Dembele (Barcelona), Florian Thauvin (Marseille), Nabil Fekir (Lyon), Thomas Lemar (Monaco).
Reserves: Wissam Ben Yedder (Sevilla), Kingsley Coman (Bayern), Benoit Costil (Bordeaux), Mathieu Debuchy (Saint-Etienne), Lucas Digne (Barcelona), Alexandre Lacazette (Arsenal), Anthony Martial (Manchester United), Adrien Rabiot (PSG), Mamadou Sakho (Crystal Palace), Moussa Sissoko (Tottenham), Kurt Zouma (Stoke).