Malouda back for France in Euro 2012 qualifiers

PARIS, Aug 26, 2010 (AFP) - Coach Laurent Blanc has recalled in-form Chelsea winger Florent Malouda in his squad announced on Thursday to open the Euro 2012 qualifiers against Belarus and and Bosnia-Herzegovina on September 3 and 7.

Malouda was not considered for the friendly against Norway earlier this month as part of the punishment meted out by the French Football Federation (FFF) to the entire World Cup squad following the debacle in South Africa.

In total, nine of the World Cup squad earned recalls for the two qualifiers but there was no place for Jeremy Toulalan and Eric Abidal - two of the players seen as being among the ring-leaders in the training strike action that preceded the game against South Africa.

Three others - Franck Ribery, Patrick Evra and Nicolas Anelka - are serving suspensions for their role in the fiasco.

Also not considered was Lyon's new signing Yoann Gourcuff as he is serving a two-match suspension for being sent off in the game against South Africa which saw the French team crash out of the tournament in disgrace.

Laurent Blanc arrives on August 26, 2010 for a press conference at the French Football Federation (FFF) headquarters in Paris to announce his squad to open the Euro 2012 qualifiers against Belarus and and Bosnia on September 3 and 7. AFP

Blanc took over as coach from Raymond Domenech after the World Cup and his first game in charge was the friendly against Norway.

On the case of Toulalan he said that the Lyon midfielder would have been unable to play against Belarus anyway as he was suspended for one match by the FFF for his part in the South Africa strike.

On top of that, he said that Lyon coach Claude Puel had decided to convert the player from midfield to central defence and he would need time to adapt himself to that role.

"We will keep an eye on him," Blanc added. "He has plenty experience playing for France which is important and we will see if he becomes the best we have at this position. That is not the case at the moment."

Malouda apart, the World Cup survivors are - goalkeepers Hugo Lloris, Steve Mandanda and Cedric Carrasso, Arsenal trio Gael Clichy, Bacary Sagna and Abou Diaby, Bordeaux's Alou Diarra and Marseille's Mathieu Valbuena.

Also back in the squad is Everton striker Louis Saha, who was selected by Domenech for the first time since November 2006 in February but had to withdraw due to injury.


Goalkeepers - Hugo Lloris (Lyon), Steve Mandanda (Marseille), Cedric Carasso (Bordeaux)

Defenders - Bakary Sagna (Arsenal), Adil Rami (Lille), Philippe Mexes (Roma/ITA), Mamadou Sakho (Paris SG), Gael Clichy (Arsenal), Benoit Tremoulinas (Bordeaux)

Midfielders - Abou Diaby (Arsenal), Alou Diarra (Bordeaux), Lassana Diarra (Real Madrid/ESP), Yann Mvila (Rennes), Florent Malouda (Chelsea/ENG), Jeremy Menez (Roma/ITA), Mathieu Valbuena (Marseille)

Forwards - Kevin Gameiro (Lorient), Guillaume Hoarau (Paris SG), Karim Benzema (Real Madrid/ESP), Loïc Remy (Marseille), Louis Saha (Everton/ENG)

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