Olivier Giroud makes France squad after return to form
Ten Premier League players named in host country’s 23-man squad
Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud has been named in France’s 23-man squad for the European Championships to be held in the country. Photograph: Paul Ellis/AFP/Getty Images
France coach Didier Deschamps picked seasoned striker Olivier Giroud on Thursday for his 23-man squad for the European soccer championship, which France will host, naming in-form forward Hatem Ben Arfa only as a reserve.
Giroud, recovering from a lean spell at Arsenal with a strong finish to the Premier League season, is one of six strikers in the squad alongside Antoine Griezmann, Dimitri Payet, Antony Martial, Kingsley Coman and Andre-Pierre Gignac. Ten of the 23-man squad play in the Englsih Premier League, including N’Golo Kante of new champions Leicester.
Karim Benzema will miss the tournament after a ban for his involvement in an alleged blackmail scandal was upheld by the French federation last month.
The Real Madrid forward was suspended indefinitely last December after being put under formal investigation by a judge for alleged blackmail over a sex video involving France team-mate Mathieu Valbuena, who was also left out of the squad announced on Thursday.
Ben Arfa, enjoying the most prolific season of his career with 17 goals for surprise Ligue 1 package Nice, is one of eight reserves who need a player to pull out injured to hope for a place in the final squad, which Deschamps has until May 31st to present to Uefa.
France will play Romania, Albania and Switzerland in the group stage.
Goalkeepers (3): Hugo Lloris (Tottenham Hotspur), Steve Mandanda (Olympique Marseille), Benoit Costil (Stade Rennes)
Defenders (8): Raphael Varane (Real Madrid), Laurent Koscielny (Arsenal), Eliaquim Mangala (Manchester City), Jeremy Mathieu (Barcelona), Patrice Evra (Juventus), Bacary Sagna (Manchester City), Lucas Digne (AS Roma), Christophe Jallet (Olympique Lyon)
Midfielders (6): Paul Pogba (Juventus), Blaise Matuidi (Paris St Germain), Lassana Diarra (Olympique Marseille), N’Golo Kante (Leicester City), Yohan Cabaye (Crystal Palace), Moussa Sissoko (Newcastle United)
Forwards (6): Antoine Griezmann (Atletico Madrid), Dimitri Payet (West Ham United), Anthony Martial (Manchester United), Kingsley Coman (Bayern Munich), Olivier Giroud (Arsenal), Andre-Pierre Gignac (UANL Tigres)
Reserves: Alphonse Areola (Villarreal), Hatem Ben Arfa (Nice), Kevin Gameiro (Sevilla), Alexandre Lacazette (Olympique Lyon), Adrien Rabiot (Paris St Germain, Morgan Schneiderlin (Manchester United), Djibril Sidibe (Lille), Samuel Umtiti (Olympique Lyon)