Patrice Evra has kept his place in the France squad for their FIFA World Cup play-off with Ukraine despite his recent media outburst.
The Manchester United defender escaped punishment by the French Football Federation (FFF) last month after labelling 1998 World Cup winner Bixente Lizarazu and three other commentators as “tramps” in a post-match interview with TV station TF1 following a 3-0 win over Finland in their final group game.
And head coach Didier Deschamps has also chosen to look past Evra’s indiscretion, naming him in a largely unchanged 24-man squad for the crucial two-legged play-off with Mykhaylo Fomenko’s side.
“He was eligible so I decided to pick him,” Deschamps said.
“I and the players are focused on a very important meeting for us. You can write whatever you want. Internally we are focused on sport.
“I choose on sporting criteria.”
Lille midfielder Rio Mavuba is the only new inclusion in the squad, the 29-year-old called up following a fine start to the season that has seen him help Rene Girard’s side to second in Ligue 1.
Franck Ribery unsurprisingly retains his place after scoring four goals in his last three international games, while Karim Benzema – who ended 16-month his goal drought for his country with efforts against Australia and Finland – is also included.
Yohan Cabaye and Loic Remy are among four Newcastle United players named in the squad as Deschamps looks to avoid becoming the first France coach to fail to qualify for the World Cup finals since Gerard Houiller’s side missed out on the 1994 tournament.
France travel to Ukraine for the first leg on November 15, before hosting the second leg at the Stade de France four days later.
Goalkeepers Mickael Landreau (Bastia), Hugo Lloris (captain) (Tottenham), Steve Mandanda (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 United), Clement Grenier (Lyon), Blaise Matuidi (Paris Saint-Germain), Rio Mavuba (Lille), Samir Nasri (Manchester City), Paul Pogba (Juventus), Moussa Sissoko (Newcastle United)
Forwards: Karim Benzema (Real Madrid), Olivier Giroud (Arsenal), Dimitri Payet (Marseille), Loic Remy (Newcastle United), Franck Ribery (Bayern Munich), Mathieu Valbuena (Marseille)
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